July 10, 2022 | By Colin O. Jarrett |
A Caribbean court ruled Tuesday that a law in Antigua and Barbuda that criminalizes gay sex is unconstitutional.
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court found that the selection of an intimate partner is a private and a personal choice. The ruling also said the twin-island nation’s 1995 Sexual Offences Act offends the right to liberty, protection of the law, freedom of expression, protection of personal privacy and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex.
The ruling comes after a gay man who works at Antigua’s Ministry of Health and a local group called Women Against Rape Inc asked that the law be found unconstitutional.
The rarely used law states in part, that two consenting adults found guilty of having anal sex would face 15 years in prison. If found guilty of serious indecency, they would face 5 years in prison. The gay man testified that he has been persecuted and assaulted, a common complaint across the largely conservative Caribbean region, where many homosexuals fear for their lives.
The ruling said the man also complained that patients have refused treatment from him because of his sexual orientation.