A Port- of-Spain High Court has ruled in favour of gay rights activist Jason Jones, who was challenging Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act of Trinidad and Tobago, also known as the Buggery Law.
Lawyers for Mr. Jones argued that the Act, which criminalises anal sex, is unconstitutional because it violates his right to privacy, liberty, and freedom of expression. It was also argued that the law infringes on the rights of the LGBTQIA community.
The judgement sparked condemnation by those arguing against, outside the High Court earlier. In the judgement, The Hon. Mr. Devindra Rampersad
In the judgment of Jones v AG and Others, 12 April, 2018
“At this point, the Court feels compelled to state in conclusion that it is unfortunate when society in any way values a person or gives a person their identity based on their race, colour, gender, age or sexual orientation.
That is not their identity.
That is not their soul.
That is not the sum total of their value to society or their value to themselves.
The experiences of apartheid in South Africa and the USA during and after slavery, even into the mid and late 20th century, have shown the depths that human dignity has been plunged as a result of presupposed and predetermined prejudices based on factors that do not accept or recognize humanity.
Racial segregation, apartheid, the Holocaust – these are all painful memories of this type of prejudice.
To now deny a perceived minority their right to humanity and human dignity would be to continue this the of thinking, this type of perceived superiority based on the genuinely held beliefs of some.
This conclusion is not an assessment of denial of the religious beliefs of anyone. This court is not qualified to do so. However, this conclusion is a recognition that the beliefs of some, by definition, is not the belief of ALL, and in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, ALL are protected, and are entitled to be protected, under the Constitution.
As a result, this court must and will uphold the Constitution to recognize the dignity of even one citizen whose rights and freedoms have been invalidly taken away…”