BVI legislators say no to same sex marriage

Sunday, December 10, 2017

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TORTOLA, British Virgin Islands (CMC) — Legislators in the British Virgin Islands have made it clear that same sex marriage will not be accepted in the British overseas territory.

The matter was discussed on Friday as the legislators debated the Marriage (Amendment) Act.

Under the Act, certain persons such as minors and family members are prohibited from getting married. However, junior tourism minister Archibald Christian urged his colleagues add homosexuals to that prohibited list.

Christian said in doing so, visitors would know that same sex marriages are not accepted in the territory.

“It's not that I have anything against persons who choose to have their relationship based on same sex. I am a human being so I have to support persons who want to have those relationships. But I have a problem when you call those relationships a marriage,”he said.

But opposition leader Andrew Fahie said the question of same-sex marriage is not up for debate because same-sex marriage is already forbidden in the territory.

“It's not for any of us to decide whether we are for or against marriage of the same sex … The substantial law already states clearly that it's not a recognised marriage in the British Virgin Islands. If it is challenged, that's a different story,” said Fahie who also threw his support behind the Marriage (Amendment) Act.

The Act is being amended to accommodate one-day visitors who wish to marry during their short stay the BVI. However, the amended law still caters to all other eligible persons locally and abroad.

With the new amendment, persons will be issued a marriage license on the same day of getting married.

Under the current law, newly-weds must wait at least one business day before they get their license.

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