Last edited: February 10, 2005

Homosexuality to Remain Illegal: Tavai

Fiji Times, October 31, 1998
Suva, Fiji

By Irene Manueli

The Committee on Consequental legislation of Parliament has decided to amend the Bill of Rights to explicitly read that homosexual relationships and same sex marriages remain illegal.

This was confirmed by Attorney-General Ratu Etuate Tavai yesterday. He said the proposed amendment to the Bill was being drafted by the Parliamentary Counsel.

The draft is to be submitted to the committee on Wednesday, which will make the necessary changes before presenting it to Cabinet.

Although Ratu Etuate refused to say whether the clause "sexual orientation" in the Bill of Rights would be removed, he said the amendments were "to remove any doubts and fears about same sex marriages and unnatural offences being allowed."

The "sexual orientation" clause, in section 38 (2) of the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, disallows discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The implications of the clause were brought to light by churches who fervently protested against its inclusion in the Bill of Rights.

Ratu Etuate, who is chairman of the committee, was directed by the Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka to look into the matter after receiving submissions from the Methodist Church of Fiji and the Fiji Council of Churches.

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