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Jamaica: Thousands rally in support of anti-gay law

People are laying low to avoid backlash, says activist Maurice Tomlinson

An estimated 25,000 people turned out at a June 29 rally in support of maintaining Jamaica’s buggery law, with various speakers saying the event is a stand for strong, healthy families and against a so-called gay agenda, the Jamaica Observer reports.

Churches Action Uniting Society for Emancipation (CAUSE) spearheaded the event, which took place in Half Way Tree, a neighbourhood of the capital, Kingston, in the island’s southeast.

“Emancipation for us means standing up against the repealing of the buggery law,” rally organizer Alvin Bailey told the crowd. Another speaker added that, biologically, gay sex does not make sense and should not be imposed on people “as if it was something right.”

Rally attendees were urged to sign a petition, to be sent to Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller, calling for the law to be left intact.

Gay rights activist Maurice Tomlinson called the event “very frightening,” adding that he knows people who are laying low to avoid any possible backlash.

Tomlinson, who was a panellist at a recent WorldPride-affiliated event called Realizing the Caribbean Dream of Inclusion, spoke to Xtra about the status of LGBT people in Jamaica.