10 Nov 2005

Fiji Methodist Church says its rights have been superceded by gays

9:43 pm on 10 November 2005

The assistant General-Secretary of the Fiji Methodist Church says his members rights have not been recognised by a decision to refuse an application to stage a protest march.

Members of the church in the Rewa district had wanted a permit to stage a protest against homosexuality.

However the commissioner central, Inoke Devo, rejected the application on the grounds that the proposed march would encourage discrimination and hatred against the gay community.

The Methodist Church were allowed to hold a march in Nausori earlier this year for the same purpose.

The Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu says his members' constitutional rights have been ignored.

"Every person has the right to equality before the law and a person must not be unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of his or her opinion or belief except to the extent that those opinions or beliefs involve harm to others."

The Rev Waqairatu says the march would be peaceful and not harmful.

He says the church will decide next week on any appeal.