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Caribbean Watch – Bishop Supports End to Buggery Laws

Kenneth Richards

Antigua St John’s – The newly installed Roman Catholic bishop for St John’s-Basseterre, Kenneth Richards, said he would support any effort that will de-criminalise buggery.

Speaking on Observer Radio on Friday, Bishop Richards said while de-criminalization does not make the act right, it should be used as a tool for non-discrimination.

“The argument to de-criminalise can be justified to the extent that adultery and this is the argument that I use in time past was on the books as a criminal offense, and it has been decriminalized,” the bishop explained. “It is on this basis that buggery can also be de-criminalised. However, this does not make adultery right, nor does it make buggery right.”

Richards added that de-criminalising the act would allow anyone to feel welcome to attend his church. He said he does not place labels on anyone, as the doors are open to all.

His stance is likely to be at odds with other church leaders who have maintained a hardline stance against buggery and homosexuality.

Superintendent of the Methodist Church Rev Carlwin Greenaway said while the clergy has not issued a specific statement on the matter, the church operates on the principle that any act of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is against the teachings of God.

“However, we recognise that there are other sexual sins. Who is to say that one is greater than the other?” he asked.

He agreed that the fact that buggery is still a criminal offense, yet other sins are not, has to be considered. “Should we make extra-marital sex a crime?” he asked. “We know that that is unrealistic to expect.”

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