6 Jan 2016

Fiji PM's gay marriage comments shock

7:31 pm on 6 January 2016

A human rights advocate in Fiji says the prime minister's comments about same-sex marriage are extremely homophobic and disheartening.

Fiji Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama

Fiji's Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama. Photo: RNZI / Vosita Kotoiwasawasa

Frank Bainimarama was responding to comments made by Shamima Ali, the head of the Fiji Women's Crisis Centre, on a news programme where she said Fiji should consider allowing same-sex marriage.

But in today's Fiji Sun, Mr Bainimarama is quoted as saying that will not happen in his or Ms Ali's lifetime, saying "Fiji does not need that rubbish."

He says that if a woman wants to marry another woman, "they should go and have it done in Iceland and stay and live there."

Shamima Ali says it was a totally regressive statement towards an LGBT community that struggles with discrimination.

"It's extreme homophobia and really total disrespect for a community in Fiji, and it's just not in keeping with statements that government has been making in terms of human rights, and violence against women, and our aspiration to be on the UN Human Rights Council in the near future."

Shamima Ali says acceptance of the gay community has slowly been increasing, and leaders should instead be encouraging tolerance.