On Tuesday, the Haitian Senate voted to not only ban same-sex marriage, but to punish “violators” with heavy fines and prison time.
The bill also outlaws “public demonstration of support” for homosexuality.
Senate President Youri Latortue told AFP that “all senators are opposed to same-sex marriage, so this simply reflects the commitments the senators made during their campaigns.”
Marriage is already defined as being between one man and one woman in Haiti, but the measure would punish “parties, co-parties and accomplices” of a same-sex wedding with three years in prison and a fine of $8,000.
“Although the state is secular, it is people of faith who are the majority,” Latortue insisted. “A country has to focus on its values and traditions. Some people in other countries see it differently, but in Haiti, that’s how it’s seen.”
The legislation “an attack on the LGBT community in this country,” says Charlot Jeudy of the Kouraj Group, one of only two LGBT rights groups recognized by the government.
“This text divides our society, it reinforces prejudices and discrimination. It’s really a shame.” Politicians “know very well that this will bring much more violence and prejudice against the LGBTI community,”
The bill now goes to the Chamber of Deputies for debate, though insiders believe its passage is practically guaranteed.