Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Christian Concern Mrs Andrea M. Williams has said it will not serve the territory of the [British] Virgin Islands (BVI) well to redefine marriage or family.
She was at the time speaking at a press conference and Same-Sex Marriage Educational Campaign at the Road Town Methodist Church Hall on Friday, March 10, 2023.
Mrs Williams of the United Kingdom (UK) is also the Founder of Christian Legal Centre, which has conducted some of the most high-profile Christian legal cases and campaigns in Europe.
She was invited to share her knowledge and experience by the BVI Christian Council, in light of the issue of the promised referendum on same-sex marriage in the Virgin Islands.
From left: Legal Counsel for BVI
Christian Council, Lorraine A.Y. La Rose; Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
of Christian Concern, Mrs Andrea M. Williams; and Vice President of BVI
Christian Council, Mrs Rosemarie Flax, following the press conference at
the Road Town Methodist Church Hall on Friday, March 10, 2023.
At a special meeting of the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands
held on Friday, December 16, 2022, Cabinet decided to refer the matter of same-sex marriage to a referendum, so that the electorate can consider and decide on the question of whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) had said a resolution must be prepared and then considered and voted on in a sitting of the House of Assembly. "Once successful, the Governor, in consultation with myself, will affix the date of the referendum. This referendum will be preceded by a portion of time dedicated to educating the population on the subject," Dr Wheatley had stated.
Mrs Andrea M. Williams of the United
Kingdom (UK) is also the Founder of Christian Legal Centre, which has
conducted some of the most high-profile Christian legal cases and
campaigns in Europe.
'It will not serve territory well'
But, according to Mrs Williams, the Virgin Islands
, being a nation based on a belief in God as stated in its constitution, should not even consider a referendum on same-sex marriage.
“It will not serve your territory well to redefine marriage or family, and so that is something in a sense [that] is not up for grabs. Redefining marriage to extend it to two men and two women…it really defines, actually something that is pre-existing to the government. It’s a fundamental shaping of who we are as human beings. It’s not something that we can suddenly redefine in 2023 and say that the whole of history is being wrong about what marriage actually is.”
Mr Williams shared that in the UK, for example, giving certain rights to LGBTQs and same-sex couples has resulted in a moral breakdown of society and Christians are now being persecuted for their faith.
She gave an example of an ordained Church of England (CofE) chaplain, who was sacked and secretly reported to the government’s terrorist watchdog for a moderate sermon in a school chapel on identity politics and noted that her organisation, Christian Legal Centre, is fighting his case.
Another example was given of a street preacher who was arrested, fined and sentenced to community service after he preached against homosexuality.
She said in the UK, school children are being vilified and suspended if they refuse to engage in activities that support gay pride and noted that a math teacher was suspended after he praised a transgender student using a 'wrong' gender.
Impressed that the press conference today started with prayer, Mrs Williams commented that it is something strange to her as this would not be allowed in the UK. She said even the devotional segments in the UK parliament have been taken out.
Commenting on the case currently before the High Court, where a same-sex couple, both Virgin Islanders, were married abroad and have mounted a legal challenge to have their union legally recognised here in the Virgin Islands
, Mrs Williams, who is not a part of the legal team representing the BVI Christian Council as an Interested Party in the legal matter, opined that the case is designed to apply pressure to the local judicial system and legislature.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the
Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) stated in December 2022 that at a special
meeting of the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands held on Friday, December
16, 2022, Cabinet decided to refer the matter of same-sex marriage to a
referendum, so that the electorate can consider and decide on the
question of whether same-sex marriage should be legal.
'Ask politicians their position' on same-sex referendum- Williams
She added that in the meantime, the local electorate should let politicians know they are against same-sex marriage and should vote for candidates that have a firm and religious position on the subject.
“As you move towards dissolving your current House and into preparing your election…I would say the only thing you need to be doing in the BVI in these weeks as you elect new candidates is to ask them their position on this and as to whether or not they will bring a referendum forward or not.
“My position actually is that…if it is possible not to have a referendum that would be better”, Mrs Williams said.
As part of her time in the Virgin Islands
, the Christian advocate said she was able to meet with some elected officials and was also invited to make a presentation to students of the BVI Seventh-day Adventist School.
Mrs Williams is slated to meet members of the Virgin Gorda community this evening.