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By RINU SHYYAM
Same-sex marriage will not be part of the new constitution, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said yesterday.
He stressed this during the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio Fiji Two and FBC TV talkback show, Aaina.
“Same sex marriage is an issue which is not even up for discussion,” Commodore Bainimarama told a caller when asked about it.
“It will not be allowed because it is against religious beliefs,” he added.
A prominent feature of submissions to the Professor Yash Ghai-led Constitution Commission was the oppositition to same-sex marriage.
PM will contest
Commodore Bainimarama reaffirmed his intention to resign from the post of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) commander in order to contest the 2014 elections.
On the talkback radio show, he again said he is confident of winning.
“I have proved to the people of Fiji that we stand for the good governance and will continue to do so and I will contest the 2014 elections to continue doing that,” he said.
Bill of Rights
The socio-economic rights embedded in the draft constitution were essential, the Prime Minister said. He said these rights were obviously essential for all Fijians judging by the many callers who raised concerns on the access to water, land, services, employment and income.
Commodore Bainimarama said that the Bill of Rights had been included in the constitution to secure the future for all Fijians, particularly children.
The Prime Minister also highlighted provisions in the draft constitution that would ensure Fiji remained a secular state.
He said such a state would provide equal opportunities for everyone to practice their own faith and religion and rid the nation of any racial discrimination.
Two clauses in the draft say, “(c) the State and all persons holding a public office must not prefer or advance, by any means, any particular religion, religious denomination, religious belief, or religious practice over another, or over any non-religious belief; and
(d) no person shall assert any religious belief as a legal reason to disregard this Constitution or any other law.
The government was also assisting students with the provisions of students loans for tertiary education.
Commodore Bainimarama said access to these loans would be merit-based and all students could repay their loans after the completion of the studies.
He is expected to appear on FBC TV and their radio programmes today and tomorrow for more talkback shows and discussion on the draft constitution.