Marriage Act can be tested in court: Shameem

May 21, 2022 7:40 am

The Fijian Constitution through the Bill of Rights protects the rights of gay people however, Fiji’s Marriage Act limits the union of two people to only between a male and a female.

However, former Director of Human Rights and University of Fiji’s Dean of Justice, Professor Shaista Shameem says this can be tested in the courts.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama in the past, has made it clear that as long as FijiFirst is in government, it will not allow same-sex marriage in Fiji.

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Part four, subsection 15 of the Marriage Act states that marriage in Fiji shall be the voluntary union of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others.

“If you look at the Marriage Act, marriage is a union between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others and that can be loosely defined as saying well perhaps people are allowed to get married no matter what sex or gender they are but you can really only marry one person.”

One of Fiji’s largest religious denominations, the Methodist Church, maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman as instituted by God, and it’s central to the well-being of society.

“Our stand is according to the scripture, the scripture does not also allow Christians especially the Methodist Church to judge, point fingers and criticize those who may have made the decision in regards to their sexual preference, and our work is to bring the light.”

Unity Fiji Party Leader, Savenaca Narube says they are yet to discuss issues surrounding same-sex marriage and will take a position later.

Social Democratic Liberal Party Leader Viliame Gavoka has yet to respond to questions on the matter.

People’s Alliance Leader Sitiveni Rabuka and National Federation Party Leader Professor Biman Prasad have also not taken a definite stand when asked about same-sex marriages.

Rabuka mentions the Marriage Act, which prohibits any such union.

“Until that is changed and it is up to the government to change it and you people, the people will have to vote in the people who will change that law, it is changed in parliament.”

NFP Leader Professor Biman Prasad says his party will allow discussion on the subject.

Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama confirmed back in 2016 that same-sex marriage would never be allowed in Fiji.