Black Immigrant Daily News
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has agreed with gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson’s argument that Section 18 (2) of Jamaica’s Constitution possibly violates several of his rights guaranteed under the American Convention on Human Rights.
IACHR is an autonomous judicial institution whose purpose is the application and interpretation of the American Convention on Human Rights. Jamaica does not recognise the jurisdiction of the IACHR.
Specifically, the Section provides that “No form of marriage or other relationship … other than the voluntary union of one man and one woman may be contracted or legally recognised in Jamaica.”
Tomlinson, an attorney-at-law based overseas, published his reasons for challenging Jamaica’s Constitution in a foreign jurisdiction and his personal tragedy on the website Erasing 76 crime.
He acknowledged his four-year wait for IACHR to accept his case challenging the country’s ban on his union with another man – Tom. Under Jamaican law, buggery–the act of penetrating the anus with the penis or any object–is illegal; there is no mention of homosexuality in the law books.
Jamaica defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The laws also recognised unmarried couples as being in a common-law relationship.
Tomlinson filed his petition with IACHR after planning to move back to Jamaica to take care of his ailing mother and elderly father but faced a decision to leave his husband behind, as their marriage would not be recognised locally.
His mother died last year, and his father is still living in Jamaica. Tomlinson wants recognition of his union with his partner so he can continue to care for his father.
“The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) agreed with my argument that Section 18 (2) of Jamaica’s constitution possibly violates several of my rights guaranteed under the American Convention on Human Rights. These rights include privacy, equal protection, and to form a family,” Tomlinson said in the article.