Chairman of the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), Ronnie Skelton, signalled that he remains uncertain about the prospect of same-sex marriage and whether it can possibly become legal in the BVI.
“I am 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,” Skelton said when approached on the issue at a recent press conference.
He added: “There is a bit of confusion that I myself am not clear about. So until that happens… I will try to make sure that I try to look at it in a more objective way and see exactly what is being asked.”
Shereen Flax-Charles, who recently announced her intention to run as the Ninth District candidate for the PVIM, commented that both abortion and same-sex marriage are “very ticklish issues” which have their pros and cons.
“I would go out on a limb to say that, perhaps, in the case of same-sex marriage, a referendum needs to happen,” Flax-Charles said.
She added: “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.”
Just last December, Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley said the contentious issue would be placed on a referendum for the public to make a decision on whether to legalise same-sex marriage in the territory.
A resolution on the referendum was expected to be taken to the House of Assembly to be voted on, and if successful, the governor in consultation with the Premier would affix a date for the referendum.
“This will be the first referendum in the history of the Virgin Islands
. This referendum will give all eligible persons the opportunity to defend what they believe to be socially and morally right. This referendum will also consider the question of whether new legislation should be introduced to provide persons in a domestic partnership with certain legal rights such as the ability to pass on one’s estate to their partner regardless of sex in intestacy,” the Premier said.
Dr Wheatley said at the time that a campaign would be launched to educate the population on the matter before the referendum takes place, but no further announcement has been made since that time.