The issue of same-sex marriage is always a hot and controversial topic in the Virgin Islands and many a politician choose to shy away from it. At a press conference called by Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM) at HireBVI Conference Room on February 24, 2023, the members of the panel were asked their position on the topic.
While Chairman of PVIM and At Large Candidate Ronnie W. Skelton and Junior Minister for Trade, Economic Development, Agriculture and Fisheries Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) danced around the subject, Minister for Natural Resources and Labour Hon Melvin M. Turnbull (R2) faced it head on, stating that marriage should be between a man and a woman.
“I will stand on the biblical principles for which I was raised and for which I believe in: that marriage is between — and should be between — a man a woman,” said Hon Turnbull, an ordained minister of the Gospel.
Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) has said same-sex marriage is a very 'ticklish' issue that has its pros and cons.
‘There is a bit of confusion’- Ronnie W. Skelton
Mr Skelton said he is of the view that same-sex marriage is a subject to be interpreted by those who are more competent to do so, like the courts and the church.
“There is a bit of confusion that I myself is not clear about so until that happens, now that you ask me the question in a public forum, I will try to make sure that I look at it in a more objective way and see exactly what is being asked.”
A ‘very ticklish’ issue- Hon Flax-Charles
Hon Flax-Charles said same-sex marriage is a very “ticklish” issue that has its pros and cons.
“And I would go out on a limb to say that perhaps in the case of same-sex marriage, a referendum needs to happen. These people are human beings as well, and we have to understand that while you may believe something should be a certain way, we have to respect the beliefs of others and so let us as a community, a Virgin Islands community, decide the way to go.”
Chairman of PVIM and At Large Candidate
Ronnie W. Skelton has said he is of the view that same-sex marriage is a
subject to be interpreted by those who are more competent to do so,
like the courts and the church.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley, in a statement on Monday, December 19, 2022, said a referendum on same-sex marriage was decided at a special meeting of Cabinet held on Friday, December 16, 2022, where Cabinet members decided to refer the matter to the local electorate.
“This will be the first referendum in the history of the Virgin Islands
. It will be held at some point after our general elections, so that the question can be considered without distraction.”
Dr Wheatley said this referendum will also give those with strong views on the matter, including the local religious community, the opportunity to defend what they believe to be socially and morally right.