Fiji’s Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama has declared there will be no same-sex marriage in the island nation as long as his FijiFirst party is in government.
The Fiji Broadcasting Corporation reported Bainimarama made the declaration in response to talk on social media about the issue, but said he wanted it to be clear Fiji is a God-fearing country and marriage equality would not be legalised.
Bainimarama has made similar comments in the past. In 2016 he described marriage equality as “rubbish” that Fiji “does not need” and suggested prospective same-sex couples “go and have it done in Iceland and stay there.”
The Fiji NGO Coalition on Human Rights (NGOCHR) has said they are “extremely disappointed and disturbed” by the comments, which they say “threaten the progress” the country has made on human rights.
“The LGBTQI community is already marginalised within our society and these comments made by someone in authority, such as the Prime Minister, are extremely dangerous and only exacerbate the existing discrimination against members of the LGBTQI community,” NGOCHR Chair Nalini Singh said.
“The 2013 Constitution prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and gender expression.”
But same-sex couples and parents aren’t recognised, Singh said.
“Even within the Family Law Act 2005, ‘de facto relationship’ is interpreted as a relationship between a man and a woman who live with each other as spouses on a genuine domestic basis although not legally married to each other,” Singh said.
“Families existing outside of the norm are marginalised, overlooked and stigmatised.
“It’s important not to reinforce these discriminatory structures and regressive ideologies. Instead, we should be promoting equality, human rights and non-discrimination for all Fijians.
“As the Prime Minister has continued to reiterate in the past, all Fijians are equal no matter who they are or where they come from.”
Sexual activity between people of the same sex was decriminalised in Fiji in 2010, but same-sex marriage has been explicitly banned in the country since 2002.
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