As at May 2008, the criminal law in Jamaica prohibits consensual sex between male same-sex couples, which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison with hard labor [R1.1].
The Offences Against the Person Act provides –
Article 76 (Unnatural Crime)
“Whosoever shall be convicted of the abominable crime of buggery [anal intercourse] committed either with mankind or with any animal, shall be liable to be imprisoned and kept to hard labour for a term not exceeding ten years.”
Article 77 (Attempt)
“Whosoever shall attempt to commit the said abominable crime, or shall be guilty of any assault with intent to commit the same, or of any indecent assault upon any male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and being convicted thereof shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding seven years, with or without hard labour.”
Article 78 (Proof of Carnal Knowledge)
“Whenever upon the trial of any offence punishable under this Act, it may be necessary to prove carnal knowledge, it shall not be necessary to prove the actual emission of seed in order to constitute a carnal knowledge, but the carnal knowledge shall be deemed complete upon proof of penetration only.”
Article 79 (Outrages on Decency)
“Any male person who, in public or private, commits, or is a party to the commission of, or procures or attempts to procure the commission by any male person of, any act of gross indecency with another male person, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and being convicted thereof shall be liable at the discretion of the court to be imprisoned for a term not exceeding 2 years, with or without hard labour” [R1.1].
The law is silent in regard to consensual sex between female couples [R1.2].
In March 2009, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said that the country will not decriminalise homosexual acts and that he has a duty to “protect” the country [R1.3].
In December 1998, Justice Minister K.D. Knight dismissed calls from homosexuals for the government to abolish laws declaring homosexuality illegal [R1.4].