In an interview with the Fiji Sun earlier this week, Frank Bainimarama said that a woman interested in marrying a person of the same gender, a practice he refers to as “rubbish,” “should go and have it done in Iceland and stay and live there.”
His comments came in response to a statement from the head of the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, Shamima Ali, who told news media that the nation should consider marriage equality.
“Fiji does not need that rubbish,” stated Bainimarama, who dismissed the possibility of it occurring in his lifetime.
Afterward, Ali expressed her disappointment with the prime minister. As reported by Radio New Zealand, she called his remarks “extreme homophobia” that went against the island nation’s progress toward embracing and advocating for human rights.
“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 U.N. Human Rights Council in the near future,” she said.
Fiji banned same-sex marriage in 2002. Sex between people of the same gender was decriminalized in 2010, which so happens to be the same year Iceland enacted marriage equality.