Religious Groups in Haiti Protest Marriage Equality and Threaten to Burn Down Parliament

More than a thousand people took to the streets in Port-au-Prince, Haiti last week to protest homosexuality and a proposed same-sex marriage bill.

A Haitian gay rights group has reportedly announced a plan to introduce marriage equality legislation, but religious groups including Protestants and Muslims led Friday’s demonstration protesting the idea. Some held signs and sang songs in which they threatened to burn down the country’s Parliament if marriage equality were legalized.

Haitian protest against same-sex marriage (via LGBTQ Nation)

Though there’s not a lot of information available about the proposed legislation, it’s clear that religious groups played a key role in organizing the protest:

“I believe in God, and God condemns homosexuality,” said protester Eddy Jean-Pierre, a self-described Protestant. “Haiti is not going to accept this, and God will punish us further if we allow this law to pass.”

The demonstration organized by several religious groups, including one calling itself the Haitian Coalition of Religious and Moral Organizations, came two days after watchdog groups held a news conference to condemn what they say is an increase in threats against homosexuals in the country. They also took issue with plans for the Friday protest.

According to the Huffington Post article about the incident, this is only one example of the oppression and fear LGBT Haitians face every day:

Gay rights groups in Haiti say that members of the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community often don’t report rights violations to authorities out of fear of reprisal. Those people also have suffered overt discrimination from law enforcement and judicial authorities, particularly in Port-au-Prince, the U.S. State Department said in a 2012 report on human rights in Haiti.

Even worse, another source reported that two men presumed to be gay were murdered at Friday’s demonstration. Apparently some individuals were “armed with knives” and other objects and attacked people they believed were gay — including the two men who were beaten to death.

It’s difficult to determine the credibility of each source here, but it’s pretty obvious that the religious influence in Haiti is extremely dangerous for the country’s LGBT population. It saddens me to suggest that keeping quiet about being LGBT is ever a solution, but at times like these, it seems like there’s no other option.

About Camille Beredjick

Camille is a twentysomething working in the LGBT nonprofit industry. She runs an LGBT news blog at gaywrites.org.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

    But Pat said they made a pact with the devil.

    http://youtu.be/mPyyXQN8cG0

  • L.Long

    Another great example of a bunch of religidiot bigots trying to make sure everyone ELSE follows their made up mythical BS. What is the equality laws going to make these bigoted Aholes marry the same sex??? Their holey book says don’t do it, THEN THEY CAN JUST NOT DO IT!!!!

    And people wonder why atheist are angry with religidiots and bigotry.

  • Guest

    As if Haiti didn’t have enough problems already…

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    “I believe in God, and God condemns homosexuality,”

    I am sure that your god also condemns your belief in Voodoo.

    • Whirlwitch

      The guy is identified as a Protestant. Voodoun is a mix of Paganism and Catholicism, it’s unlikely he believes, practices, or condones it.

      • Tim

        do you do voodoo? Do You?
        I don’t do voodon, but I do do Judo. Do you do Judo?

      • Raising_Rlyeh

        He identifies as protestant, but based on growing up in Haitii he probably believes in voodoo. I would think that he does not practice it or condone it, but I would bet that he believes in voodoo.

    • allein

      On a shirt I saw at the county fair the other night: “Voodoo unto others before they voodoo unto you.” :)

  • http://v1car.wordpress.com/ The Vicar

    Religious people threatening to destroy civilization in a tantrum? How NOVEL!

    • observer

      But remember, it’s the homosexuals who are a threat to society.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Murdering harmless people just because they’re different, and threatening to burn down Parliament if people who are different are harmlessly given a chance to be happy. …Hmm. Well, that clearly illustrates what these pious, godly groups are really all about: rigid and narrow conformity, oppressive control of everyone through intimidation, and all power, no justice.

    Just another pleasant day in the Bronze Age.

  • WingedBeast

    Because, and it’s important to note, that you need religion to make you a good person. Otherwise, you’d be the kind of guy that would burn down parliament!

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    At last something Protestants and Muslims can work together on. I knew as long as they could find a common enemy there could be peace between them. Its clear to everyone that Haiti is being punished by god. After all they are poor and have lots of storms so it must be those Gays or the Voodoo at least that’s what Pat Robertson said.

    • TIBOB

      The fact that his Haitian does not mean that he believes in Voodoo. That’s soo ignorant

  • Renshia

    Damn, seems we still have a little barbarian in all of us. Except for religion these people would have no reason to hate.

    • WoodwindsRock

      I’m sure they’d still hate, they just wouldn’t have religion to hide behind anymore.

  • Mario Strada

    I would posit that God has been punishing them for NOT having marriage equality. Look at the recent earthquake. Did they have marriage equality? NO. God punished them by making the ground tremble.
    Has any of the states with marriage equality suffered from a natural disaster? How about the European countries? South Africa? No earthquakes. If I were them, I’d think about it. I mean, crazy thinking works both ways.

  • JA

    “”“I believe in God, and God condemns homosexuality,” said protester Eddy Jean-Pierre, a self-described Protestant.””

    Your god also believes in slavery. Your country openly rebelled against God when you rebelled back in the early 1800s. GG.

  • Dave G.

    That’s OK, a city council in Texas (of all places) has moved to ban anyone from the city council or for holding government contracts if they have spoken against homosexuality or non-heterosexual normality. This little parlor game of ‘look how mean they are’ doesn’t work in the internet age, since it’s rather easy to find examples on all sides of any issue that act the same.

    • blasphemous_kansan

      “That’s OK, a city council in Texas (of all places) has moved to ban anyone from the city council or for holding government contracts if they have spoken against homosexuality or non-heterosexual normality.”

      Source? Even just the name of the city will probably do.

      “This little parlor game of ‘look how mean they are’ doesn’t work in the internet age, since it’s rather easy to find examples on all sides of any issue that act the same.”

      So you’re saying that living in fear of being murdered for being gay and having no hope of receiving protection or justice from governmental/law enforcement entities is the exact same as the situation you describe in Texas? Really? I’m trying to wrap my brain around that. Would you care to help explain how the two are in any way ‘the same’? I gotta admit, it seems ridiculous to me.

      • Dave G.

        It’s in San Antonia, my brother-in-law’s old stomping grounds. And I’m saying that both sides have their bad apples, unless you’re OK with people being told that if they don’t support the dogmas of gay tolerance, then they don’t deserve the same rights as gay supporters. That could explain things. .

        • blasphemous_kansan

          “It’s in San Antonia, my brother-in-law’s old stomping grounds.”

          Do you mean San Antonio? Those are the only results I could find, and your sensationalist description doesn’t seem to hold water. It actually seems like they’ve rolled up all their anti-discrimination policies into one, and added sexual identity to it. Not surprised that someone is claiming that this horrific display of legislation is identical to people being openly murdered for being gay in Haiti.

          ” And I’m saying that both sides have their bad apples,”

          Well, that’s what you’re saying now. What you said earlier was that these were ‘acting the same’. Is that something you don’t believe now? And come on, this article is about people being systematically abused, dehumanized, and openly murdered. If the worst equivocation of ‘bad apples’ you could find was this one piece of small-town, first-world legislation, then I think your point is self-defeating. The ‘bad apples’ of the gay rights movement taste damn fresh compared to the people on the other side who are MURDERING OTHER PEOPLE.

          “unless you’re OK with people being told that if they don’t support the dogmas of gay tolerance, then they don’t deserve the same rights as gay supporters. That could explain things. .”

          Oh my, yes, I’m so intolerant of your intolerance. What would your little persecution fantasy help ‘explain’? What ‘rights’ are being taken away from anti-gay bigots? Please realize that holding public office and having a government contract is not a ‘right’. You have every right to be a gay hating person. You don’t have a right to deny other people rights and equality under secular law because you enjoy being an gay hating person.

          • Tainda

            It’s ok to kill homosexuals because they aren’t human. Didn’t you know that? /sarcasm

            Every time someone says something like this I get an image of Leave it to Beaver in my head “Beav, did you kill another homosexual today?!” Beav hangs his head “Yes sir” Dad ruffles the Beaver’s hair and says “Oh you kids and your shenanigans”

            • Dave G.

              No, it isn’t. Just like it isn’t OK to discriminate against those who hold beliefs about homosexuality that don’t align with other beliefs. And don’t be so tough on the Beave. Most shows today are every bit as preachy and propagandizing as any 50s programming, they just advocate the moral absolutes of the post-modern left. Glee is just to the modern secular left what Ozzie and Harriet were to the 50s conservative American family.

          • Dave G.

            Spelling error obviously. Yes they have, and they’ve included making decisions based on the verbiage used. Now, since i heard about it, they could have backed off, and that would be a good thing. But the idea that a person should be punished for holding to a belief about the normality of homosexuality, something very much a belief and not a scientific fact, is bothersome to the extreme, and goes a long way toward validating the concerns of traditionalists that they will be under the gun for their beliefs in the not-too-distant. And yes, I consider bad apples those trying to impose their values on others through iron gauntlet of tolerance by oppression. Is it the same as outright violence against others? No. In some ways, it’s worse. The violence can be seen, caught, punished and hopefully prevented. But the gradual changing of tunes to say that this is our hour, and all had better conform can be so subtle that before we know it, we’ve lost everything and gained nothing, and have no clue how it happened.

            • 3lemenope

              It seems to be a mystery to you that people openly using rhetoric denying the humanity and right to live of homosexuals might in fact give cover to and encourage actual violence against homosexuals, just as the dehumanization through rhetoric of black people gave cover to those who went one step further and beat or lynched them.

              It’s a mystery with a body count. Let it no longer be a mystery.

            • blasphemous_kansan

              ” Is it the same as outright violence against others? No. In some ways, it’s worse.”

              You’re completely inhuman if you actually believe this.. Your paranoia is sad. You’re disgusting, I’m out.

    • Michael W Busch

      to ban anyone from the city council or for holding government contracts
      if they have spoken against homosexuality or non-heterosexual normality

      A ban against “speaking against homosexuality” or “non-heterosexual normality” (what does that even mean?) is entirely appropriate for government officials in all official capacities, and for the corporate policies of any company that contracts with the government. People can have whatever personal beliefs they want, but that is not a license to violate non-discrimination rules.

      And your false equivalence and Golden Mean fallacy are noted.

  • WoodwindsRock

    Because same-sex marriage effects them that much. It wouldn’t effect them at all! These people need to grow up.

  • The Other Weirdo

    Was that the same God that blew up their country a couple of years back because of (insert random thought by God)?

  • f_galton

    It’s estimated the average Haitian IQ is 68, so none of this should be too surprising.

    • 3lemenope

      You are disgusting.

      • f_galton

        That’s just how it is.

    • Michael W Busch

      Cut the xenophobia and racism.

      IQ is not a measure of intelligence – it is a measure of skills at performing the set of tasks measured by IQ tests, which are learned skills. Systematically low performance on IQ tests simply indicates a lack of education in those skills.

      And all of that has nothing to do with a people believing something that is wrong, and letting that belief overwhelm empathy and the available evidence.

      • f_galton

        You don’t know what you are talking about.

        • Michael W Busch

          Your making unsupported assertions does nothing to justify or excuse your bigoted speech. Cut it out.

          • f_galton

            Pointing out the average IQ of a country is not bigotry.

            • Michael W Busch

              Asserting that performance on IQ tests is in any way related to the behavior exhibited here is. Cut the bigotry and nonsense.

              • f_galton

                Of course conditions in Haiti are related to the intelligence of the people there.

                • Michael W Busch

                  No, they are not.

                  The population of Haiti has exactly the same distribution of innate intelligence (and again, that’s not what IQ tests measure) as that of every other country – go back a few thousand years and we all have the same ancestors, and there has not been any significant differential selection on shorter timescales. Haiti does have many serious social problems – but those are due to failures of education and of economics.

                  And, once again, none of this has anything to do with the violent homophobia Camille described. Intelligent and otherwise-well-educated people can and far too often do believe wrong things, and can and far too often do horrifically evil actions for the sake of those wrong beliefs.

                  And you are continuing to be racist, xenophobic, and significantly victim-blaming, as well as wrongly conflating culture and intelligence. Cut out the bigotry.

                  I am done.

                • f_galton

                  Your claims are contradicted by science. You should do some reading on evolution and IQ.

                • Michael W Busch

                  You should do some reading on evolution and IQ.

                  I did (my degrees are in physics, astronomy, and planetary science, but my teachers emphasized the importance of a generalized scientific education). IQ is not anything like a full measure of intelligence and when you take an average over the population of a country it is determined by education and environment and not by genetics.

                  There is no support for your bigoted statements. Stop trying to defend them. I refer you to PZ Myers, because he has already written up a piece describing why what you have been saying is complete nonsense:
                  http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/04/22/there-are-no-marching-morons/

                  Goodbye.

                • f_galton

                  Of course it’s mostly genetic. There is an environmental component as well, but I’m not sure why you are saying that since you claim IQ is invalid. We’re evolved. That dishonest Meyers essay isn’t about racial differences in intelligence, it’s still wrong in the claims it does make.

  • Matt D

    If homosexuals are a threat to society, then why are we the ones being beaten and killed while they threaten to burn and destroy?


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