Jamaica: Poll finds 91% support anti-gay buggery law

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A recent poll in Jamaican media has reported that only 5% of Jamaicans say the country’s buggery law should be repealed.

The poll, which conducted interviews in September, was commissioned by the Jamaica Gleaner.

It found that 91% of Jamaicans supported the law, whereas 5% opposed it. An additional 4% said they did not know.

The poll also found that 82% said they believed gay men were not treated fairly by the legal system or police.

However 68% said gay men should not have equal rights, whereas only 26% said they should.

For transgender people, the results were even more extreme.

72% said they believe trans people should not have equal rights, whereas 23% agreed they should be treated equally.

The Jamaican criminal code prohibits sex between men and sentences for buggery can include 10 years imprisonment with hard labour.

As part of her election campaign in 2011 Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller vowed to review the buggery law – she has so far failed to do so.

However, in recent months repeal of the buggery law has steadily crept up the political agenda, with the government hinting at consultation.

Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson called for greater acceptance of gay Jamaicans in May.

His words came shortly after The Gleaner published an editorial questioning the country’s ban on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Julian Robinson then called on the government to help a group of homeless gay and trans people who are forced to live in a storm gully.

Labour MP Diane Abbott, Chair of the UK’s All Party Parliamentary Group on Jamaica, told PinkNews last month that recent political developments were encouraging.

But she added that social conservative Christians would firmly resist any attempt to abolish anti-gay legislation.

Maurice Tomlinson conducted an interview with PinkNews about the situation in Jamaica last month.