Junior Minister of Culture & Tourism Luce Hodge Smith has stated that although she personally disagrees with same-sex marriages, she would respect a decision to legalise such unions if the majority makes this decision through a referendum.
Speaking on the Talking Points radio show on May 22, Hodge-Smith said she disagrees with same-sex marriages because of her upbringing. But she says a final decision on the matter should really be left to BVI residents.
“I think in this case we need to get the majority’s decision on this. I don’t think the UK government should impose this upon us like in the Cayman Islands where it was imposed upon them by the Governor,” Hodge-Smith explained. “I think as a democratic society we should have our say. And if the majority says we should have same-sex marriages, then we have no choice, but at least we went through the process.”
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley promised a referendum on the matter in light of an ongoing court matter. The court case in reference concerns the validity of the marriage between two women — Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome – and whether any prohibition against same-sex marriage in the BVI is contrary to the constitution of the Virgin Islands
The issue always creates controversy whenever it arises as many people are still opposed to same-sex unions in the BVI.
Recently, a position put forward by businesswoman Maris Hodge-Wright that same sex couples should be allowed to marry because they pay taxes caused quite a stir in the community as many expressed that they aren’t in agreement with such a move. Still, there is no clear indication of how the majority may vote if a referendum is called on the matter of same-sex marriages.