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Dominica court overturns ban on consensual same-sex relations

Typical of countries pillaged by Great Britain, the Caribbean island nation was left with a British-era law that criminalized same-sex activity upon the exit of the colonizer. But now, the Dominica High Court said that this went against the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica.

Photo by Nario Esprit from Unsplash.com

In Dominica, a court has overturned a ban on consensual same-sex relations.

Typical of countries pillaged by Great Britain, the Caribbean island nation was left with a British-era law that criminalized same-sex activity upon the exit of the colonizer.

But now, the Dominica High Court said that this went against the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica. Particularly, sections 14 and 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (SOA) that criminalized consensual same-sex activity between adults were found to be unconstitutional.

The court ruled that these provisions violated the right to liberty which is guaranteed by section 1(a) of the Constitution, freedom of expression which is guaranteed by sections 1 (b) and section 10 (1) and protection of personal privacy which guaranteed by section 1 (c). 

The court also stated that the right to protection of privacy of the home encompasses “private and family life and the personal sphere which includes one’s sexual identity and orientation as well as intimate activity with a partner of a person’s choice. Therefore Sections 14 and 16 of the SOA contravene the Constitution in so far as they intrude on the private home life of an individual by proscribing the choice of consenting adults as to whom to engage in intimate sexual activity with, and are therefore, void.”

Dominica is now the sixth country in the Caribbean that removed the criminalization of same-sex relations in their laws.

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