1 July 2018 | According to LGBTI rights site, Erasing 76 Crimes,  LGBTI rights advocates have released a statement saying that a group of religious leaders representing a number of faiths including the Roman Catholic Church and Adventist Church “have lost their way” after they made a public push to pressure the government to reject same-sex marriage.

The group of religious leaders that claimed to represent almost 90% of the country’s population, held a June 11 press conference in the country stating their belief that marriage should only be between a biological man and a biological female. According to Catholic affairs site, The Crux, the group also expressed an intent to make two proposals to the government. One was to amend the country’s Marriage Act to state that marriage was between a biological male and biological female. The second proposal aimed to squash attempts to amend Trinidad’s Equal Opportunity Act after a recent High Court Decision declared null and void two sections of the Sexual Offences Act that had to do with sodomy.

The statement from the Alliance for Justice and Diversity (AJD) said that the social justice coalition was “deeply troubled and perplexed by the call… from men, who lead six of the nation’s faith organizations, for Government to deny protection from discrimination to LGBTI+ citizens of Trinidad and Tobago. These leaders have lost their way.”

The AJD statement said that “as opposed to focusing on solutions to pressing daily concerns experienced by the nation’s families—issues like crime, economic insecurity, sexual violence and political corruption—the faith representatives’ national press conference warned that ‘gender fluidity’ and ‘individual autonomy’ pose existential threats to the nation, because they undermine marriage and ‘the traditional family.'”

The group also made a statement about religious freedom saying that it “pivots on a principle the six faith leaders severely mis-apprehend: that the state protects people from the imposition of any faith’s cultural tenets on others, regardless of the power or numbers of that faith. The Seventh-day Adventist, Evangelical and Roman Catholic representatives voiced clear calls for faith tenets to be made into law and enforce them as culture.”

According to the denomination’s Office Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, the Caribbean Union Conference of which Trinidad and Tobago are part, has 243,587 Adventists and 621 churches.

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