PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – On Thursday, the Haitian Senate passed a bill criminalizing same-sex marriages making it punishable by jail sentence and a 500,000 HTG (~ $8,000 [USD]) fine.
Although no legislation recognizing same-sex unions had existed, the initiative to penalize gay marriage, authored by Senator Carl Murat Cantave (Artibonite/KID), passed with 14 yeas, one nay and one abstention.
The bill will now move on to the Chamber of Deputies for a vote and will need to be signed by the President of the Republic to become law.
The proposed law affects Haitian nationals and foreigners, according to Senator Cantave, who openly criticized the LGBT (lesbians, gay, bisexual, transsexual) community. This community has become the target for public blame for “everything bad” that occurs in that Caribbean nation.
The bill began to be debated in July after the Senate passed a resolution denying members of that community a “Certificate of Good Life and Morals,” a document needed to do much in the country. That resolution passed although denying the certificate before the lifestyle was designated a crime.
The president of Kouraj (Courage), Charlot Jeudy, denounced the bill. The leader of the only Haitian LGBT organization in the country said “there are senators who openly express their homophobia, which is a clear attack against us.”
“The entire LGBT community in Haiti is concerned about the latest attacks on us. The proposed ban on same-sex marriage in Haiti is wasted time, since the law does not recognize same-sex marriage, now What they want to do is penalize it,” he said.
In recent years, political and religious leaders in Haiti have organized various protests against the LGBT community, and the Kouraj organization itself has been threatened to stop working openly.