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Historic gender equality legislation passed in Bahamas Parliament


Posted in: Regional News | 03 March 2016 | 2404

    Prime Minister Perry Christie leading parliamentarians from the Churchill Building into Parliament Square to participate in the historic vote on gender equality. (Photo: BIS)
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    Prime Minister Perry Christie leading parliamentarians from the Churchill Building into Parliament Square to participate in the historic vote on gender equality. (Photo: BIS)

    NASSAU, Bahamas, Mar. 4, CMC – History was made on Wednesday when Parliament passed four amendments to the constitution, removing the remaining vestiges of discrimination from the law books.

    Thirty-seven of the 38 legislators voted in favour of the bill.
    The other Parliamentarian – Hubert Chipman was absent due to illness.

    Last weekend, Attorney General Allyson Maynard Gibson Q.C. said four issues would be voted upon in Parliament and later by the people in a referendum.

    The bills passed include whether a married Bahamian woman should have the same right as a married Bahamian man to pass her citizenship on to her child; on whether the spouse of a Bahamian woman should have the same right as the spouse of a Bahamian man to become a Bahamian citizen and whether an unmarried Bahamian man should have the same right as an unmarried Bahamian woman to pass his citizenship on to his child.

    “That it should be clear in our Constitution that there will not be discrimination in The Bahamas on the basis of sex – being male and female,” Gibson said.

    In his closing remarks after the passage of the bills, Prime Minister Perry Christie rose to his feet to commend House members for their vote and to underscore the historic significance of the occasion within the context of the rights of women to vote, a franchise granted to them in 1962, more than one half century ago.

    “It has been more than fifty-three years since our women won the right to vote but they still do not have constitutional protection against discrimination based on their sex. This must be seen as abhorrent to our fundamental values. It is therefore a moral imperative of the first magnitude that we seize the opportunity to usher in a new era in our civilization – an era that will proceed on the righteous and unassailable premise that we are all equal before the law irrespective of whether we are male or female and that as what is good for one is good for the other without distinction.”

    In the end, the entire constitutional reform exercise was about full equality, nothing more and nothing less argued Christie.

    “At its core” continued the Prime Minister, “it is for me to say that this is what the present constitutional exercise is all about – nothing less and nothing more. Let there be full equality.”

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