Wed | Mar 20, 2019

British parliamentary committee calls for overseas territories to legitimise same-sex marriage

Published:Friday | February 22, 2019 | 10:47 AM
CMC photo

LONDON, CMC – The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wants all British Overseas Territories, including those in the Caribbean, to legitimise same-sex marriages.

In addition, the Committee believes that the British government could do more than “simply support” same-sex marriages in principle.

In its 44 page report titled “Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the Relationship,” the Committee said “it is time for all OTs to legalise same-sex marriage and for the UK Government to do more than simply support it in principle.

“It must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalised homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so. The Government should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalised same-sex marriage. If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council.”

The Overseas Territories in the Caribbean include Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.

In the report, the Committee is also calling for the British government to urgently address concerns in the Overseas Territories  about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.

“It should also consider options for removing quotas on the number of people in the OTs that can access NHS (National Health Service) services in the UK when their 32 Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship own health systems cannot provide the care and treatment they need.”

It said that this may be difficult from a bureaucratic point of view but it is an important test of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s ability to fight the OTs’ corner in the UK.

The Committee says belongership and its equivalents are wrong, noting that “while we recognise that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and UK citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office."

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