A Yes Vote for Equality: Statement on Referendum On Gender Equality in The Bahamas
The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights welcomes the historic opportunity for the citizens of The Bahamas to remove sex-based discrimination from the Bahamian Constitution in next week’s National Referendum.
The Bahamas is one of only two countries in the Western Hemisphere that denies married Bahamian women the right to confer citizenship to children born abroad, on an equal basis with Bahamian men. It is also one of only two countries in the Western Hemisphere to deny unmarried fathers the ability to confer citizenship to children born abroad. Moreover, while the law makes provisions for a Bahamian man to transmit his citizenship to a foreign spouse, Bahamian women are denied this equal right.
The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights is encouraged by efforts to reform the Constitution of the Bahamas to advance equality. A yes vote for the four bills proposed in the referendum would guarantee Bahamian men and women the equal right to pass citizenship to their children and spouses, regardless of sex. Importantly, a yes vote will also enshrine equality between women and men in the Constitution, in order to guarantee that the country’s citizens will never be denied the same rights and opportunities because of their sex.
If successful, the proposed changes to the Constitution will bring the Bahamas in line with international standards of non-discrimination between men and women, and realize the country’s commitments as a state party to the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, ratified by The Bahamas in 1993.
We urge the citizens of the Bahamas to take this momentous occasion to advance equality and justice – values fought for since the country’s inception – through a yes vote on June 7.
The Global Campaign for Equal Nationality Rights is a coalition of national, regional and international non-governmental organizations, activists and UN agencies working to end gender discrimination in nationality laws, so that nationality rights are based on citizenship not sex.