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State should be cautious about gay rights call

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    State should be cautious about gay rights call - 31-May-2006
    The Government has been told to be cautious about calls by the Methodist Church to amend or drop the section of the Constitution dealing with gay rights.

    Fiji Womens Rights Movement executive director Virisila Buadromo said wide consultation was needed if the Government was to take such calls into consideration.

    Ms Buadromo said if the Government was considering amending a section of the Constitution on gay rights under the Bill of Rights, wide consultation needed to be undertaken before any action was taken.

    She said the same section, which the church wanted to amend, included the rights to practice religion, which encompassed the Methodist Church.

    For example, who is to say that amendments wont affect the Methodist Church a few years down the line if someone doesnt like the way they practise, said Ms Buadromo.

    Fiji Womens Crisis Centre Co-ordinator Shamima Ali said the Methodist Church should deal with other bread and butter issues rather than trying to get gay rights dropped from the Constitution.

    Such a move would be a violation of human rights and as a premiere church group, they should concentrate on their congregation, said Ms Ali.

    She called on the church to deal with other crimes like violence against women and children instead of focusing on gay rights.

    Attempts to get comments from the Attorney General Qoroniasi Bale were unsuccessful.

    On Monday, Methodist president, Reverend Laisiasa Ratabacaca called on the Government to amend the section of the Constitution that deals with gay rights.

    He said leaders should see to it that the issue was dealt with if they were concerned with morality and keeping Christian values and teachings.

    Mr Ratabacaca said the Church conference had raised the importance of viewing sex in the godly sense and this was as good a time as any to look seriously at the issue.
    Ref: - Fiji Times

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