In light of the promised referendum on same-sex marriage, business owner Maris Hodge-Wright has stated that same-sex couples should be allowed to get legally married in the BVI.
Wright, who joined the May 9 airing of Talking Points radio show as a co-host, said same-sex couples in the BVI pay taxes and shouldn’t be denied any rights and privileges other couples or citizens enjoy.
“I’m a Christian, but I’m also a citizen. I don’t think it is fair that people pay taxes and they don’t have equal rights. I think if a man or woman pays taxes, they should be defended by the laws of that country. I know that Christians on Tortola fight me over this because they say I’m not Christian because I have this opinion,” Hodge-Wright posited.
She continued: “I think as Christians, we must defend the laws of a country, we are supposed to live under our Christian precepts but we cannot enforce and tell the law that ‘you can pay taxes but you can’t have the same rights as I do.”
Co-Host Damion Grange agreed with Hodge-Wright’s position, stating that the issue of same-sex marriage is a human rights issue. He said there are other acts – such as alcohol abuse – that the church deems immoral but continue to happen because the laws permit alcohol use. He said the same principle should apply to same-sex marriages.
“If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Why are you worried about it,” Grange said. “Just like you have religious freedom, it should be the same principle here. That’s why I say it’s a human rights issue because at the end of the day, you do have a same-sex couples in the BVI,” Grange argued.
At the same time, both Grange and Hodge-Wright agreed that the Church should not be forced to marry same-sex couples as it goes against their tenets.
“I don’t agree with the church marrying them because of what the church believes. But under the law, they should be able to go to any government agency that marries people and be allowed to get married because they pay taxes as I do. You cannot make me a second-class citizen when I’m paying taxes,” Hodge-Wright stated emphatically.
Where do we draw the line
Another co-host Elvin Grant added that legalising same-sex marriages may give rise to other issues such as those relating to gender. He said the BVI runs the risk of not knowing what they stand for.
“Once you open the door for lots of these things, the question is where does this stop? Once you push the door open, it can go and go until we really don’t know what we stand for,” Smith said.
The issue of same-sex marriage has always been a hot topic in the BVI. Majority of the population upholds Christian principles and argue that same-sex marriage goes against their beliefs.
Just days ago, Premier Natalio Wheatley stated that the much-talked-about referendum on same-sex marriage within the territory is likely to be put forward to the public within the next few weeks.
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