This story has been updated.
Justice Gerard Farara has granted the BVI Christian Council’s ‘recent and urgent’ application to appeal a judgement made by Justice Adrian Jack, who is presiding over the High Court matter involving a same-sex couple.
Attorney General Dawn Smith had requested an adjournment for a hearing currently listed for yesterday, September 29 and today, September 30, stating, among other things, that her chambers had difficulty obtaining instructions from its clients, the BVI government. However, Justice Jack was not satisfied with the explanation so he denied the request.
Following that denial, the Christian Council went to the Court of Appeal — where Farara serves as a judge — for redress. It filed a certificate of urgency to have the Appeal Court’s decision expedited.
The Council sought for the Court of Appeal to halt proceedings in same-sex case until an appeal hearing is had and a determination of that hearing made.
Justice Farara ruled that “the applicant (the AG) has a realistic prospect of success and therefore ought to be granted leave to appeal [Justice Jack’s judgement].
The court therefore granted the application for leave to appeal against the judgment of Justice Jack. It also granted an “interim stay of proceedings” pending the aforementioned appeal hearing and determination of the application to seek an adjournment.
Meanwhile, the overall court case concerns the validity of the marriage between 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 couple entered a civil partnership in 2011 in the United Kingdom (UK), and was later issued a marriage certificate once the UK’s same-sex couples law came into effect.
Both the Christian Council and the government are interested parties in the case.
Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley recently commented on the court matter, suggesting that no judge or external government should be allowed to make a decision on the BVI’s laws on same-sex marriage.
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