Prime Minister Bruce Golding

The prime minister of Jamaica, a nation described at the most homophobic country in the world, has said that he is opposed to same-sex marriage.

Bruce Golding, who previously insisted that he would refuse to allow a gay or lesbian person to serve in his cabinet, made the statement during a parliamentary debate on amending the country’s constitution.

“I make no apology in saying decisively and emphatically that the government of Jamaica remains irrevocably opposed to the recognition, legitimisation or acceptance of same-sex marriages or same-sex unions,” he said.

“There is the possibility that sometime in the future parliament could pass a law that says same-sex unions are legal but it won’t be done in this parliament. Not as long as I sit here.”

In Jamaica, gay sex is punishable by up to seven years in prison under a law which dates back to British colonial rule. Britain has urged its former colonies to abolish the law.

Human Rights Watch has documented extensive violence faced by LGBT people across Jamaica. This includes mob attacks in which gay men have been seriously wounded.

Despite growing international pressure on the government over its stance and its continued silence on homophobic violence, Golding said that “…we remain steadfast in our determination that the values and culture must be protected and preserved”.

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