PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday April 16, 2018 – Archbishop of Port of Spain, Jason Gordon says even though the Catholic Church views buggery as an immoral and “disordered” act, it should not be illegal.
In fact, he says in any country where buggery is a criminal offence, the church should find ways to remove it from the statute books.
Gordon made the church’s position clear on the heels of a High Court judge in Trinidad and Tobago ruling that the sections of the Sexual Offences Act which criminalize the act of buggery between consenting adults are unconstitutional.
In an interview on local television, the Archbishop made it clear that the church is still against homosexuality.
“There is no question in the church’s mind or teaching that [buggery] is an act that is immoral, disordered – one would even say a sin against nature,” Gordon said. “Buggery or the homosexual act is a disordered act, is a frustrated act; it is an act that is not in keeping with the intention of God for human sexuality.”
But, he added, it did not mean it should be illegal.
The Archbishop said buggery is a moral matter and not a criminal one, and insisted that although the Roman Catholic Church does not support homosexuality, it “does not believe that buggery should be criminalized at this time.”
Following Justice Devindra Rampersad’s ruling last Thursday, the State said it intended to lodge an appeal.
The State’s lawyers had argued that the buggery legislation has never been enforced against consenting adults. But the judge did not accept that argument, contending that maintaining an unenforced law on the statutes “makes no logical sense and, instead, seems more vindictive than protective or curative in manner, as if to hold a ‘big stick’ over a minority to try to enforce a portion of society’s morality over it”.
“The fact that the State proscribes against it quite obviously validates society’s feelings against anyone who does call himself a homosexual, to the extent that society may possibly feel justified in denouncing the practice forcefully or physically,” he added.
However, Rampersad did not throw out the legislation. He said he wanted to hear from the parties on whether the offending sections should be struck down in their entirety. They have been given until June 4 to present their views and the judge said he would deliver his judgment the following month.