Yesterday, Trinidad and Tobago ruled that criminalizing homosexuality was unconstitutional.
While Trinidad and Tobago has no law outright banning same-sex love/relationships, Sections 13 and 16 of the Sexual Offenses Act criminalize buggery (anal sex) and indecency between adults.
Trinidad gained this law from the United Kingdom when it was colonized by the British. Even though the UK later got rid of this law, Trinidad, which gained its independence in 1962, has kept it ever since.
But in the past few years, there has been an increase in cries for the country to change the ruling. This has caused lots of controversy in the country such as Christian protestors outspokenly objecting to a change and LGBTQ advocates lobbying with political officials to gain protections for citizens.
One such advocate, named Jason Jones, filed a lawsuit in February 2017 that eventually led to this new court ruling.
According to Erasing 76 Crimes, Trinidad and Tobago’s High court ruled that the laws against homosexuality were unconstitutional.
Justice Devindra Rampersad stated:
“The court declares that sections 13 and 16 of the [Sexual Offences Act] are unconstitutional, illegal, null, void, invalid and of no effect to the extent that these laws criminalise any acts constituting consensual sexual conduct between adults.”
While Justice Rampersad’s ruling now states that Sections 13 and 16 are unconstitutional, an additional judgment will be held in July to figure out what will happen to the two sections.
That said, many people in Trinidad and Tobago, and outside of it, are celebrating.