Wed | May 24, 2017

Jamaica can't grant gay marriages at British High Commission

Published:Friday | August 8, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Andrew Harris, Gleaner Writer

DESPITE RECENT passage of a law in the United Kingdom, which allows British Consulates across the world to carry out same sex marriages, no such arrangement will take place in Jamaica.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade noted that there has been no official communication between Jamaica and the British High Commission on the matter of same-sex marriages at the British High Commission in St Andrew.

Gay Britons living in 24 countries around the world where same-sex marriage is not allowed to take place, can now marry their partners at British consulates.

According to the Consular Marriage and Marriages under Foreign Law Order 2014, 24 British consulates will now be allowed to have same-sex marriage ceremonies, which came into force on June 3.

In response to a series of questions as to whether local authorities were approached on the matter to give go-ahead for same-sex marriages at the British Consulate in Jamaica, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said though there has been no official communication between both entities on the matter. If there were, Jamaica would not be in a position to provide such consent given the provisions of Section 18(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and Freedom, which defines marriage as the voluntary union between one man and one woman.

The British High Commission has not sought such permission from the Jamaican authorities.

"We can only offer consular marriage and civil partnerships for British nationals in any country where we have the permission of the local authorities. We have not sought permission," said the British High Commission in a response to The Gleaner.

The 24 countries include Australia, Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cambodia, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Japan, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Peru, Philippines, Russia, San Marino, Serbia and Vietnam.

andrew.harris@gleanerjm.com