A move to allow same-sex (LGBT) people to apply for protection orders under Domestic Violence law failed to receive the nod of the Senate yesterday, as only four Independent senators voted in favour of it, Government senators voted against, and Opposition senators abstained.
The amendment was proposed by Independent Senator Hazel Thompson-Ahye during yesterday’s Domestic Violence Amendment Bill debate.
The Senate was meeting to expand the category of people who could apply for protection orders when Thompson-Ahye proposed that people in same-sex relationships should be included.
However, when it came to a vote, the Senate did not approve.
Earlier in the sitting, Thompson-Ahye commended the Government for bringing legislation to address domestic violence.
“Today is a red-letter day. I commend Government for the work that went into this bill. I humbly say I beg your pardon and you have delivered some blossoms in this bill.”
She said Government, with reference to LGBT issues, had shown a gender-neutral position.
“So we can’t be talking out of both sides of our mouth, we can’t turn back now. Some in same-sex relationships have been killed. But their lives can be saved,” she said.
Thompson-Ahye said during one Independence parade, a man pelted her with a bottle and stone.
“I had to run but he was being abused due to his orientation,” she said.
She said she wrote about the fact it was sad for gays in T&T.
“Protection should be for all,” she said, noting T&T recognises marriage only for heterosexual couples and not same-sex couples.
“I don’t advocate we do (same-sex marriage) but it’s very important we have protection for them – will we display courage of conviction and include same-sex people (in the bill)?”
Thompson-Ahye related that one of her domestic violence clients was murdered. Another spent a night hiding in a La Horquetta drain. Still, another spent a day hiding in a park and yet another woman’s skull was fractured.
“And a young neighbour was shot dead by her husband. He shot himself,” she concluded.
Thompson-Ahye said she’d also represented a man who’d complained his wife damaged his things and he was trying to see his wife at 2 am.
“I told him stop stalking your wife—rebuild your life. He stopped, tried and was happy after.
“Another client’s wife told him ‘shut up’ in our meeting. It turned out he was the sacrificial lamb after years of abuse her mother suffered by her father.“
Questioning why corporal punishment was retained, she added, “And we wonder why we so violent —we make the children violent.”
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said the bill was to protect all. Saying men were affected also, she noted a recent incident where a 22-year-old man was stabbed by a female.
She added, “My advice to my sisters is what calypsonian Francine said, “run away, far far away,’ from the abusive relative.” (GA)