Orden David is an LGBTQ activisit who has dedicated his life to fighting the anti-sodomy laws of Antigua and Barbuda, at personal risk. And he’s won.
Orden David is an openly gay man who works in the government of Antigua and Barbuda, a heavily-Catholic island nation. He’s challenged their 1995 Sexual Offenses Act, which criminalizes anal sex or same-sex public displays of affection with jail time sentences.
David filed suit against his government in 2022 to fight the laws, which made nearly all sexually active gay men, and many straight men as well, into criminals.
Living as an out gay man in Antigua and Barbuda has not been a safe life for Orden David. He’s been physically assaulted twice by bigots, once knocked entirely out on a street in broad daylight. But it’s not a hate crime there. And legally, he was the criminal.
“I realized that with our community, we’ve gone through a lot and there’s no justice for us,” Orden told The Associated Press. “We all have rights. And we all deserve the same treatment.”
“The selection of an intimate partner is a private and a personal choice,” read the finding on his lawsuit. “This court was asked to consider the legislation which criminalizes certain sexual activities between same-sex consenting adults.”
The ruling said Antigua’s 1995 Sexual Offenses Act “offends the right to liberty, protection of the law, freedom of expression, protection of personal privacy and protection from discrimination on the basis of sex.” It found the law to be unconstitutional.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the AP that his government decided not to challenge the ruling: “We respected the fact that there should be no discrimination within society,” he said. “As a government, we have a constitutional responsibility to respect the rights of all and not to discriminate.”