Christian coalition resists imposition of same-sex ‘marriage’

3 July 2023

This week in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a Christian coalition will resist attempts by a lesbian couple to overturn the constitution of the Caribbean territory and enforce same-sex marriage.

Over 80% of 30,000 people who live in the BVI say they are Christian. But same-sex couple Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome have sued the BVI government for a declaration that their UK marriage is valid under the laws of the BVI.

The couple alleges that they have lived in the UK and were married under the UK’s Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 UK, but were still residents of BVI.

They are seeking a declaration that their ‘marriage’ which took place in the UK in 2019, but was deemed effective from 2011, is, or should be, valid under the laws of the BVI.

Furthermore, they are seeking a declaration that the prohibition of same-sex marriages by consenting adults with no familial relationships is contrary to the BVI constitution.

They are also asking the BVI Court for an order that the laws of the Virgin Islands relating to marriage be modified to bring them into conformity with the BVI constitution.

Is the BVI constitution delegated law?

Intervening in the case, the British Virgin Islands Christian Council has urgently received support from the Christian Legal Centre in the UK, to resist the legal challenge.

A hearing is now scheduled to take place at the BVI High Court from Tuesday 4 July for 4 days, in Road Town, BVI.

Christian Legal Centre lawyers representing the BVI Christian Council, will argue that submissions made by the same-sex couple are in error and that ultimately the BVI constitution is not delegated English Law.

They will say that the BVI constitution was an act of devolution by the UK parliament which was empowered by the West Indies Act. It is therefore not English law.

Lawyers will therefore submit that there is no legal requirement or justification for same-sex marriage to be introduced to the islands.  Any change to the status quo must come from the BVI legislature.

A ruling is expected to be reserved.

Separate to the legal challenge, BVI’s Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley also announced in December 2022 the first referendum in the territory’s history on same-sex marriage.

Until then, he said, the government would be “vigorously defending our laws, which clearly provide that marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

No date for the referendum has been announced with the BVI just coming out of a general election.

No authority to redefine marriage

Mrs Rosemarie Flax, Vice President of the BVI Christian Council (BVICC), said: “As a Christian Body, the watchdog of our Territory and the conscience of our community, the BVI Christian Council firmly believes that it is our duty to oppose any attempt to add conditions to marriage that change God’s teachings and standards.
“The BVICC truly believes that no Governmental authority, no human being, no judicial society has the right or authority to re-define marriage.

“BVICC is not imposing its moral beliefs on non-believers.  It is the other way around that advocates of same-sex marriage are imposing their views of sexuality on Christians. They are using Governmental power to impose a new definition of marriage.

“No matter what, the BVICC continue to show love to all humans but will only recognise the marriage of a man and woman as is created and ordained by God.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “We are honoured to respond to the British Virgin Islands Christian Council’s call for support and stand with them in their pursuit of justice and their protection of Christian marriage in these islands.

“What the BVI is facing is a strategic litigation case designed to put pressure on the judicial and legislative systems of the BVI to bring same-sex marriage up for public debate.

“Why force a legal case and referendum on same-sex relationships on a nation that has far more urgent social needs?”

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