Column: Basic Rights Of ‘All God’s Children’

February 11, 2016

[Opinion column written by Glenn Fubler]

I write this Open Letter, with some regret that I have not taken a public stand affirming the rights of Gays and Lesbians, before now. For many years, I have seen myself as one who supports the basic rights of ‘All God’s Children’, a passion which took some time to evolve within me.

Growing up in Bermuda, like many others, I engaged in the tribal practice of othering those who might be different. This would have been a by-product of the colonial legacy of othering.

Glenn Fubler 160211

In my circles at that time, those who were considered near the bottom of the scale were Jamaicans and Portuguese. Those at the bottom of the hierarchy were Gays who were called Queers; a population whose circumstances forced them deep into the underground.

As I matured, I came to love learning in the context of diversity. This included an enthusiasm for biology, through which I explored how ‘we are all wonderfully made’.

The research project that I decided on for my Master’s at Howard University was intended to explore some of the genetics of how a single cell evolves into a Masterpiece. I never completed that grand project – although I learned much from that exercise.

‘Buck’ Burrows and Larry Tacklyn were sentenced to death a year after I had returned from school and I had developed a deep sense of reverence of all life. You will see in my opinion piece published on December 2nd 2015, that I was initially disappointed to find very limited community support for our anti-hanging campaign.

Since Buck and Larry were some of the most othered in our society, it took a substantial push by our small group, to turn the tide. This offers a lesson that notwithstanding appearances, a community can shift towards embracing caring for all.

Every human birth is a miracle. Through nature and nurture we are each so amazingly unique. Dr Rahmin of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings’ College – London pulls together a scientific perspective in his book “Born Gay? The Psychobiology of Sex Orientation”; concluding that about 10% of the population is born with a Gay orientation.

Bermuda’s own Jean Howes made the point with Shirley Dill; “Who would choose to be Gay?” That common sense question puts things into perspective.

Should this matter be decided by referendum? Can you imagine if the question of retaining segregation across Southern United States – which only affected 12% of the U.S. population – had been decided by referendum?

The collective wisdom of a century of global progress suggests that matters concerning minorities within a population are best addressed using the guidelines of International Human Rights Standards and legal frameworks.

Fellow residents, as this current debate continues, let’s reflect carefully. We just might experience another shift towards embracing caring for all.

- Glenn Fubler

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Comments (44)

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  1. Truth says:

    I find it very odd that the majority of people who are VEHEMENTLY opposed (not just moderately opposed) are the same ones who scream about “injustices in their own country” and the “birth right of Bermudians” and continue the rhetoric in this country that is purely divisive and, frankly, just plain juvenile.

    We have no right, as a majority, to tell the ‘others’ how to live.

    Should churches be forced to accept gay marriage – no, absolutely not, that is their right. But should we, as a society smartly separating church and state, deny this right? That is also an ‘absolutely not’.

  2. San George says:

    Everything becomes normal if done long enough – give an inch take a mile. Slavery was normal for centuries, apartheid was normal, Jim Crow was normal. Can’t stop this. Welcome to the winning side.

    Quo Fata Ferunt

    Have mercy on our souls!

  3. Starting Point says:

    Thanks Glenn for highlighting the dangers of making this sort of decision on the ‘will of the masses’.

  4. wondering says:

    well said!!

  5. ConcernedBermudian says:

    Encouraged to hear yesterday on the radio, that the AG has drafted civil union legislation, although the Govt. has not quite decided if and when it will be tabled. Civil Unions is a way for the Govt. to meet it’s legal obligations, placed on it by the recent court action and provide equal rights to the gay community. He was confident that this would satisfy the legal requirement, without having to offer SSM. Yes, Preserve Marriage will complain. Yes, the ardent SSM advocates will complain. Yet, with the hopeful passage of this newly drafted legislation, those currently affected will have the same legal rights, that others take for granted and that will be a major step forward for us all.

    • blankman says:

      Only one problem with this. Separate but equal is not equal

      • ConcernedBermudian says:

        Apparently legally it is considered equal – this according to the AG.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          And if a couple want a marriage in a church that is willing to marry them. By creating a second class, that is effectively doing just that… you are effectively saying that we accept that you are in society, but you have to drink from a different fountain.

      • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

        It depends on how you look at it. So long as a possession of a ‘civil union’ certificate gives the exact same rights as a ‘marriage’ certificate it should be all good.

        Effectively all marriages in Bermuda are legal unions, not religious ones. It makes some people happy to have it blessed as part of the ritual but that part doesn’t make the marriage legal.

  6. Thank you Mr.Fubler says:

    At times social dialouge in Bermuda gets really skewed and obtuse.

    I think your commentary is very important and I adds balance to an otherwise hysterical level of discussion.

  7. Lolll says:

    Better be careful. Seaman is gonna come and get you lol

  8. seriously? says:

    Hear! Hear! Equal rights for all.
    Hate is bred from fear and misunderstanding. Gay people are not out to get you. No one is undermining marriage between man and a woman (don’t need gay people to do that!). I wish people would suspend their indoctrinated opinions for just a moment and really try to listen and understand – on this issue and the issue of PRCs and status. And please – stop using Christianity to validate your hate, homophobia and bigotry. Methinks you doth protest too much…

  9. Tom-E says:

    I believe the term ‘same sex marriage’ is what’s ruffling peoples feathers. If this is solely about obtaining spousal rights between same sex couples than I don’t believe most people would be opposed to Civil Unions. Just stop calling it Marriage! For those of us raised with religious influence, Marriage is defined between a Man and a Woman as ordained by GOD. With it being called ‘marriage’ it makes that sector of the community feel as though the other is try to force this change down their throats which goes against their beliefs hence all the disrespectful dialogue on both sides.

    Civil Union, Yes!!
    Same Sex marriage, NO!!
    Win-Win for all!
    Be reminded that ‘thou shall not judge’ and that we only have to answer for our own life’s journey.

    • Mike Hind says:

      But why SHOULDN’T we let them call it marriage?
      Marriage isn’t a religious word. The church isn’t a necessity or stipulation in a marriage.

      What, exactly, is the problem with calling these relationships what they are? A marriage.

      It may not look like yours or mine, but why should we have any say in what their relationship is?

      • Longtail says:

        Tom-E appears to be mixed up – think he should substitute ‘Wedding’ in place of ‘Marriage’ in his post. Then what he is saying makes a bit more sense….

  10. Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

    Thank you, Mr Fubler, for sharing your thoughts.

  11. LaVerne Furbert says:

    Another new term, this time “othering”. I’m just shaking my head. If Glenn Fubler is in favour of same sex marriage, so be it. I am not.

    • hmmm says:

      Do you believe in equal rights for people LaVerne?

    • Noncents says:

      @ LaVerne

      I love how your party is supposed to be for “the people” and “progressive”. Yet you consistently fail on both accounts.

    • jt says:

      Why not?

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      So don’t have one, however, the point of his statement is that no one has the right to enforce their belief on others, no one or group has the right to remove or prevent the rights from another group or individual, even if it by majority. This is why we have the Human Rights Act, to make an exception to satisfy a groups belief of moral superiority basically voids the whole purpose of the Human Rights Act, I mean to stop that from happening again is why it was made law to begin with.

    • Zevon says:

      We all recall you saying you would refuse to rent your properties to gay people. So you current position is not a surprise. You are a well-known bigot.

  12. O'Brien says:

    One thing I find funny about this whole debate…ever since the topic arose last year, we’ve heard so much about the dignity, sanctity etc. of marriage as a reason for opposing SSM. Now, the discussion has shifted to civil unions – which would leave the traditional definition of marriage intact. But still the same people are complaining.

    Could it be that their desire to withhold rights from homosexuals actually has nothing at all to do with marriage?

    • Portia says:

      Actually, in the majority of cases around the world, civil unions have just been a prelude to ushering in full-fledged SSM. It almost makes it inevitable. I think therefore that people are right to continue to remain concerned that traditional marriage could be redefined. This is just a “back-door” method of doing it.

      • Lois Frederick says:

        Well it will give you and others time needed, to get your heads around the concept and will have little bearing to other groups but make a massive difference to those affected. About time. Dragging Bermuda kicking and screaming into the modern world.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Churches have full rights to keep marriage defined the way they want to, that is not being taken away from them. They do not have the right to tell others how to define their marriage. Marriage doesn’t belong to anyone religion/culture/institution, so when it is in law, it has to be equal in its definition.

      • Mike Hind says:

        “Traditional marriage” won’t be redefined. You can still have a “traditional marriage” all you want. This will just allow one more group access to the rights and privileges that the rest of us that don’t all necessarily have “traditional marriages” share.

    • jt says:

      Not really too much of a head scratcher is it?

  13. Accurate says:

    Well written and fully supported Mr. Fubler!

  14. Christa says:

    Well written Mr. Fubler and thank you for haring your thoughts. You have my full support.

  15. Bermy.The.End says:

    In the real world gays are the majority that control the masses. Most who control the entertainment industry are homosexuals. So they are actually way up in the hierarchy of our modern day society. They may not desire to sleep with every tom, dick and harry but they definitely want your children and mine to be desensitized, consciously or subconsciously. Just another plot to exterminate the human race.

    • Lois Frederick says:

      You started so well and then it degenerated into rubbish. Carry on, I bet you won’t even notice a difference in your life, as in mine.

    • Walk in their shoes says:

      Oh brother. The ‘gay agenda’ is now apparently the extermination of humanity. And of course, heterosexual humans are so weak-minded that we’re going to shift our desires en masse and stop making babies.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Pure nonsense

  16. warner says:

    Yes a birth is a miracle Mr. Fubler, however before you come out the womb you have no choice of what gender you would be. (Truth)
    I kindly wish to point out that being Gay is a choice. People are not born Gay. For example being born Black or White, Male or Female there is no choice there. Absolutely not sir. Having 5 finger or 3 toes; there is no choice there sir.

    Know one can be born Gay. This notion of being born Gay is or can be equal to being born to kill or born to have an attraction to animals. Such things like this is a lust of the flash. A persons desire takes place through life experiences as they grow in age. Your choices from those experiences determine which way you go. Know one’s experiences, should grant Gay’s to marry, a civil matter. This is far from being Civil. You absolutely cannot change the color of your skin but you can change and chose what you thirst after. I’m sure there are many people who have wanted to have a relationship with the same gender. Through choice alone is why they did not have those kinds of relationship. And i’m sure it took sometime to loose those desires.

    • jt says:

      You seem to be very sure of a lot of things. Quite curious. Ignorant, but curious.

  17. Really? says:

    Sorry Mr. Fubler, but there is a HUGE difference between the decision in the Southern United States and this decision. The majority of the U.S. population was denying civil rights to a RACE of people. Not one of those black people could change the colour of their skin. Now that segregation has ended, black people are STILL suffering as a result of JUST BEING BLACK. There is NOTHING they can do to change their race.

    In Bermuda’s case, the majority of the population would like to keep the definition of marriage as one between a man and a woman. They are not trying to deny rights to anyone nor are they treating the gay community with the vile and hatred that white people inflicted upon black people in the U.S. (I wish that white people in Bermuda would stop trying to equate the black struggle with the gay struggle). The minority group, in this case, is NOT a race of people. They CAN change – even the ones who say they were born that way. (I know of NUMEROUS examples of this).

    So, if the U.S. South had had a referendum, the black race would have been more overtly treated as second-class citizens and denied BASIC rights of eating at any restaurant, drinking from any water fountains, staying at any hotel, etc., etc. If Bermuda has a referendum, same-sex couples would not be able to call their unions marriage and they won’t be able to legally call their partners husband or wife. THE TWO STRUGGLES DO NOT COMPARE. Same-sex couples are free to lobby government to allow them social benefits for their partners. They just need to accept that the term “marriage” is already taken.

  18. No laughing matter says:

    SMH…next they will tell us that birth certificates, passports, drivers licences, will no longer include a person’s gender.

    All books will be thrown out of schools and replaced with gender-less/gender neutral books. Use of “he” and “she” will be banned on school premises and grounds for detention if used. Children will be interrogated by the “department of gender-less enforcement” to ensure that parents are doing their part indoctrinating children about being gender-less.

    No more separation of bathrooms at the gym or in public places. Ladies, be prepared to pee in urinals. Don’t mind the fellow gym member walking around with the “goods” dangling out in the gender-less changing room.

    You will no longer be able to specifically ask for a female or a male nurse or doctor to attend to you. It’s discrimination…

    Be prepared to explain to your 3 year old princess at her ballet recital why it’s just her and 15 boys on stage wearing the same pink tutu. “Oh sweetie, it’s because gender doesn’t matter. “We’re all one big kaleidoscope of Utopian and blissful gender-less auras surrounded by a big rainbow”…

    Mother’s day and father’s day, will be replaced by: “the one who gave birth to you day” and “the one who contributed the “little swimmers” day”.

    The much esteemed international day of Women will now be called Gender-less
    Pride day.

    Cup Match teams and county game teams will now be gender-less.

    Sex change operations must be covered in every employers insurance. Hefty fines and jail time will be enforced on employees who do not comply.

    Psychologists, Psychiatrists and M.W.I. will have their work cut out for them for the next 200 years.

  19. Gom-bi says:

    Thank you, Mr Fubler. It is encouraging, and much appreciated, to know that there is compassion and understanding out there. It is much needed at this time. I suspect fundamentalists will be unchanged, but please know that your actions and words offer great comfort and, indeed, joy.

  20. Glen, Someone needs to tell you that , ” YOU ARE WRONG. ” Marriage is ,and has only been between a man and a woman. To prove my point, “Why call it civil unions , if it is a marriage.??” Separate and unequal, is still a sign of discrimination. We are creating another two tier system. Over and over, this is just a mid-step to full marriage. This is the soft approach ,just to get the issue in the door , on the table, just to have it challenged and proven to be discriminatory. The issue of gender must also be address. There is no more just male and female . We now have 5-6 different genders in between male and female. For 6,000 years, a baby was born, and the doctor or mid-wife looked at the genitals of the new born and said, ” You have a boy, or ” You have a girl. ” WHEN DID ALL THIS CHANGE?? “

  21. Oh,I see now says:

    Hold strong churches as it has been said,”In a minority of one the truth is still the truth.”

  22. PPH says:

    How is this a case of human rights? Are those who practice a homosexual lifestyle being denied human rights? Also, there is no parallel between racial discrimination and redefining marriage. One is a human rights issue the other is not.