The Star (St. Lucia) : 2019-04-06

LOCAL : 11 : 11

LOCAL

11 LOCAL THE STAR WWW.STLUCIASTA­R.COM APRIL 06, 2019 T he recent death of Gervais Emmanuel, who allegedly identified as gay and may have paid the ultimate price, has sparked another wave of discussion­s centered on gay rights in Saint Lucia. Senator Hermangild Francis, also justice minister, was first to suggest officially that the island’s buggery laws should be revisited—especially if that’s what Saint Lucians want. He added: ”Too many young people are being maligned because of their sexual orientatio­n. I don’t think that’s right. Everyone should be entitled to his or her own sexual, political and religious beliefs.” However, the laws that protect citizens’ right to free expression and associatio­n are not as kind to those considered other than heterosexu­al. External affairs minister Sarah Flood-Beaubrun, for one, seems not to share Francis’ views on sexual rights. Last week she focused on health risks that she associated with homosexual­ity. “There’s no need to be emotional about it,” she said, “no need to be one-sided. Let the facts contend and let us make the best decision for our country. HIV/AIDS is serious. We do not have the kind of money to invest in secondary health care and tertiary health care. What we need to do is encourage healthy lifestyle choices.” So-called “Christian values” have long had a major influence on Saint Lucia’s lawmakers. Archbishop Robert Rivas spoke for the island’s Roman Catholics. “Whoever said the church is against [homosexual­s] is probably misinforme­d about the church today,” he said. “I have never said that in my preaching in Saint Lucia. I’ve been here eleven years and a bishop for 29 years. I’ve never preached that, and I’ve never heard our archdioces­e preach

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