BVI News

BVI to hold referendum on whether to legalise same-sex marriage

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley

The British Virgin Islands may hold its very first referendum which will be used to determine whether same-sex marriage should be legal in the territory.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley made that announcement in a public broadcast Monday afternoon, December 19.

The referendum is being proposed because of an ongoing case involving a same-sex Virgin Islands couple who got married abroad then mounted a challenge in the High Court to have their union legally recognised in the BVI.

“If they were to be successful, Section 13(1c) of the Matrimonial Proceedings and Property Act, which provides that marriage is void unless the parties are respectively male and female, would be declared unconstitutional and therefore be null and void. As a result, same-sex marriage would become legal in the Virgin Islands,” Premier Wheatley stated.

“In response to this legal challenge, the Virgin Islands Government, who is the respondent in this case, through counsel with the Attorney General’s Chambers, is vigorously defending our laws which clearly provide that marriage should be between a man and woman,” the Premier added.

Dr Wheatley said the government is defending the ability of the BVI’s democratically elected legislature to make legislation on this issue. He further argued that such a “weighty” matter that has such significant religious and social implications should not be decided by a court of law but by the people of the Virgin Islands.

As such, Premier Wheatley said, Cabinet held a special meeting last Friday and “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.”

“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.

He noted that a resolution on this matter must first be brought before the House of Assembly to be voted on. And if successful, the governor in consultation with the Premier will affix a date for the referendum.

Dr Wheatley said a campaign would be launched to educate the population on the matter before the referendum takes place.


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  1. Hmmm says:

    I guess with all thats happening in the world…this comes as no surprise. Guess a certain minister will welcome this being that she calls herself a “watchm@n”

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  2. Funny man says:

    Waste of time and money

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  3. BREAKING ? says:

    Seems like you took over where the yellow site dropped in the gabbage , we need to castrate these anti whatever / who nis not satisfied with the way (GOD ) made them , sadly

    Like 11
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  4. Resident says:

    England won’t like the answer, this is an easy victory for the no side

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  5. captain obvious says:

    easy win for no with at least 90 percent of the vote

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  6. hmm says:

    My opinion is if you not going to straight up outlaw homosexuality in your society then what’s the big deal if they get married? who really cares!? so basically its fine to turn a blind eye to it but if they want to get married only then its a problem? I don’t understand the logic. Can we get a referendum on independence too?

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  7. No! says:

    Reparations first. Talk that!

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  8. Electorate says:

    that elected the 13 HOA members in 2019? This referendum should include ALL the persons who reside in the BVI over the age of 18 regardless of where each was born or where there parents were born. This referendum should include all work permit holders and their dependents, all residents, all land owners, all BVI business owners, etc. basically any person who pays SS, NHI, payroll tax, etc. to the BVI government.

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  9. Eligible persons says:

    Who are these eligible persons who will decide what is socially and morally right? Can we make sure that they are not in the cocaine trade, have not cheated on their spouses and have not defrauded any government institutions recently? Please also check if they have not stolen anything, have gone to church every Sunday and make sure they follow all traffic rules…

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  10. Lol says:

    Ah yes, the thing start now

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  11. Separation of god and state. says:

    Religion should not influence laws.

    Separation of god and state.

    It’s that simple.

    We are not throwing rocks at people as some religious books suggest for good reason.

    If you want religion to apply to you that’s fine. But don’t decide what other people should or shouldn’t do.

    (And just so you know, marriage did not originate in church. It existed as a civil arrangement prior to church adopting it)

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  12. An Imported Immoral Scourge says:

    The devil is changing our heritage daily.

    Our elected officials could be complicit in that rearranging of our societal values due to corruption of money.

    Some people affect changes in other people’s country with their money and simply by buying out the gullible and greedy government officials. And this exactly what has occured here in the BVI.

    This is evolutionary change due to any shift in local thinking, behaviors or political desire by the populace..

    In fact, neither the majority of the population nor the relgious sector agrees with the directives or direction this imported immoral scorge has taken in our country..

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  13. local says:

    Mr Premier you already know the answer we not in that foolish nastiness let the UK keep that up there .

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  14. :) says:

    Great idea. Nobody can blame government if it fails because the people would have spoken. The votes will be anonymous so even people that are in the closet can help their cause but somehow, I don’t think any Caribbean country will support this. It is not part of our culture. Recently the world has been going upside down to the point where we don’t even know the true definition of a woman anymore and pronouns are being misused because a group of people decide that they can be whatever they want to be.

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  15. Marcell says:

    Jingle Bells! Jingle Bells! I’m Not Going To Hell!

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  16. Guest says:

    The Attorney General is doing the Premier and this territory a disservice. If the courts determine that the relevant legislative provisions are unconstitutional no amount of tinkering or grandstanding in the local legislature is going to change anything. This requires a constitutional change/amendment, and the ongoing Constitutional Review is the appropriate forum for this endeavour, not a costly referendum which in the end will be of little or no effect.
    Section 115 of the Constitution dictates that legislation ought to conform with the constitution and not the other way around.

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  17. fyi says:

    The act of Buggery is a crime.

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  18. BVI Business says:

    Just let ppl do what they want. It hurts no one…Love is love. Period. Other people love does not hurt you.

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  19. David says:

    Nastiness. Engaging in this abomination. Sick sick sick

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  20. Not the answer says:

    A referendum on same sex marriage is a red herring and will not resolve the issue of the legality of same sex marriage fairly in this environment.

    It will serve no value other than to validate the opinion of those who are vehemently against same sex marriage given this notion that the BVI is a so called “Christian Society” which is all but imo.

    The result will be a forgone conclusion in favor of those who are oppose to same sex marriage given the wide sentiments among many who are against same sex marriage.

    This is the Caribbean whereby so many people have been brought up to view homosexuality as a sin, and still do. In that prejudicial environment, no referendum can been deemed fair to the other side.

    IMO, in this prejudicial environment, the legality of same sex marriage should be decided by the courts rather than a popularity contest between those who oppose and those who support same sex marriages.

    The courts need to look to the constitution and determine this fundamental question:

    If each and every BVI citizen equal before the law inclusive of gay marriage?

    Having the majority impinge their views on a minority group is is not equal protection under the law.

    Now, if this is the answer of the government to the current same sex case before the court, it’s simple a ridiculous response as the court is going to make it’s decision regardless.

    It’s clear what the government is trying to do here in using the religious landscape of the country to come up with this referendum on this matter which they believe will go their way, but I predict that the court will have the final say.

    The case before the court will be won by the plaintiffs imo, and their same sex marriage will be recognized in the BVI referendum or not. One their marriage is recognized, others will be as well. Under U.K. watch and scrutiny, I expect the Government House’s position will be instep with the U.K.s.

    While you are at it Mr. Premier, why not have a referendum on independence from the U.K.?

    I bet you would not touch that because you know which way the winds are blowing. This referendum is only being brought forward because they are counting on homophobes and ingrained religious indoctrination to give them the results they desire.

    By the way, when is election? What about a date Mr. Premier? I personally cannot wait to see the back of this crew. Stop pandering to homophobes. Election date please. Time for this gang to go.

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  21. samesexCan't Procreate says:

    No one should be allowed to tell another what they are allowed to do with and for themselves, however same sex couples aren’t natural, and weren’t meant to be seen as normal, but it happens and they should be allowed to live as they please.

    They should be allowed to marry!

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  22. hmmm! says:

    @eligibleperson. I totally agree and while you are at it please let us know how many having so-called straight sex and what position they like most and how much affairs they have had and how come the world have so much going wrong while the people in straight marriages have been running things forever. I for one am sure, government is not welcomed to police my intimate relationships when they can’t even keep proper roads in the BVI.

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  23. Wow says:

    Shall we add homophobic to the premier’s many accolades? Why are we so concerned with what people wish to do with their private lives? It hurts us so much as a territory to see two women happily married? In the same way it must hurt us to see our brothers and sisters leading happy and successful lives. That’s why we will never move forward as a people. There are far greater issues that should be given this much attention yet they are overlooked and ignored.

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  24. Voter List says:

    To all those asking…all elegible persons mean all those who can legally vote. This is how it is done period in most countries. When the UK wanted to leave the EU all those who were eligible to vote, cast their vote. It should be no different here in BVI . This is how it works. No sense arguing for work permit holders who will come and go in a few years. Let them vote in their country. They hate BVI and BVI people anyway so why are people even suggesting that they participate? Nonsense.

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  25. Bob Marley says:

    We don’t live by man law, only God law, seen?

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  26. reallythinking says:

    @separationofgodand State, If it is a civil arrangement which I tend to agree, it means that persons should enter for reasons such as forming a family and living/cohabitating arrangements and property ownership arrangements ect. which may give Government legitimate reasons to manage this unless ofcourse humans have a right to privately decide who they wish to have a family with, live, love with or give their property. This referandum appears to be emotionally motivated malicious nonsense and does not warrant being the first time a referandum is held in BVI. There are much more pressing matters about to affect the BVI’s future than this.

  27. Good idea says:

    A referendum on the issue would gives the views of the people. Bermuda had a referendum. They voted no and don’t have same-sex marriage. The Privy Council recognized the right of Bermuda to legislate it if and when it pleases. This is imo the way it should be and consistent with the jurisprudence of the European Convention on Human Rights which our constitutional provision on marriage is modeled on.

  28. Polygamy next? says:

    I’m not personally for or against legalization of same sex marriage. Also, condemn in the strongest terms the marginalization and discrimination of any minority group.

    However, in response to those arguing that we should stay out of ppls bedrooms and allow them to live and love who they want, I agree 100% with that. Where, I diverge is that I do not think that non-discrimination means the state must legalize same-sex marriage. What would be next? Concubines and mistresses making the very same arguments in favor of polygamous marriage? Polygamy is legal in certain countries and further is permissible in certain religions. On the basis, there’s easily an argument in favor of polygamous marriage between adults. The only difference really between the case for same-sex marriage and the case for polygamy is the very powerful lobby backing only the former.

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  29. @ not the answer says:

    Ok Justice whatever your name is!

    Just so you know though legalization of same-sex marriage judicially has failed in every case where there is a specific right dealing with marriage (or a lex specialis) including the Cayman Islands. Also, the ECHR jurisprudence which has an almost identically worded provision has always been interpreted as not including a right to same-sex marriage. Same for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Simply put, where there is a specific right (lex specialis) a general will not be interpreted as derogating from the specific (generalia specialibus non derogant). This is consistent with the principle that a constitution must be interpreted as a coherent whole.

    The position in the Virgin Islands is thus distinguishable from that of the USA or Canada for example, which both have a general freestanding right to equality but no specific right dealing with marriage.

  30. @bob Marley says:

    God left bvi years ago

    Drugs, guns, racism, ignorance, have all infiltrated our society. We are no longer the paradise we claim to be. We are a people who despise our fellow outsiders who gladly come to work and build up our economy, yet we lash out at them when they succeed. How low are we?

  31. Paid bloggers strike again says:

    Uhhh ok, so the Premier is homophobic because he wants to have a referendum on the legalisation of same-sex marriage??? STUPES HAVE SEVERAL SEATS PLEASE!!!

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  32. Free The Weed says:

    The UK quick push legalization of gay sex marriage but want to hold back on legalizing marijuana and putting ppl in jail.

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  33. This is funny. says:

    How come no Judge wants to hear and no lawyer wants to fight for the right to smoke weed, it’s the people’s body. Why is this criminal and immoral act getting this much traction.

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  34. Very concerned says:

    The sad reality is that the bvi has a very high percentage of LGBTQ in high offices. This is a sellout, there shouldn’t be a referendum, the people have already spoken, the decision has been made and the answer remains the same. No Same Sex marriage in our beloved bvi, this is an abomination, keep you’ll queue behavior to yourselves..

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  35. Oooh. Boiii says:

    @ wow ; this is ALL part of the UK ( white boys) agenda — one man came in and gave OUR Elected “ representatives “ an ultimatum—- UNITY Government—- for the time these guys got political—- was there ANY unity in politics for the betterment of these islands ???

    The put the “ SOFTEST” one to be ( leader ) so they can pull his “ puppet strings”

    It’s ALL a farce. In other words. BULL SHIT — their agenda HAS to be fulfilled

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  36. Lodger says:

    But unmarried sex, illegitimate children, single mothers, absent fathers, is ok by you?

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  37. Only Jehovah God says:

    Only God can fix the mess in this world.When people give their heart to God and follow the principles in the Holy Bible they will do what is right in God’s sight. This proposed referendum will not/cannot fix the mixed up mess of sin in the world. So it matters not who vote for what. Therefore I will not be taking part in this vote, as Jesus did not stone anyone committing adultery but said “go and sin no more”, I say the same to all sinners, go your way and stop sinning. Only God can set people on the right path, not referendum. Amen.

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  38. HonestTruth says:

    Sure, but then start with seeking reparations from Mali and every other African kingdom that for hundreds of years thrived on selling slaves before the Europeans arrived for a profitable trade.

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  39. HonestTruth says:

    There are commandments set out by God for us to adhere to for our overall wellbeing. If we follow the word of God, we do not need laws of Man to dictate to us how to live our lives. Follow the laws of the Land so long as they do not cause you to act contrary to the word of God. We were all blessed with free will, if two men want to marry and fornicate, so be it! When the time comes they will have to account for their actions. We are not to judge, we are to witness.

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  40. Hypocrisy says:

    The hypocrisy in the BVI is mind boggling. We only remember God’s word when it suits us. God says done steal but we still do it. He said don’t kill but we still do it. He says don’t fornicate and commit adultery but we do it. He speaks about witch craft and this is a regular thing that most do. He speaks about covetousness and jealousy and this is one of our biggest infractions. He spoke about not eating lobsters because they are scavengers but ayo nearly sink Anegada last month even eating lobster ice-cream. But gay marriage is the only thing that we seem to have strength for. What people do in the privacy of their home is nobody business. Ayo too damn noisy! Sick ah ayo

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  41. No thanks says:

    Keep the batties out of our islands.

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  42. Oops says:

    For God’s sake don’t tell my wife. I told her we were good.

  43. Let these people live their lives says:

    Whether a same sex couple marries each other or not does not affect you any which way. If you don’t love and sleep with someone of the same sex, then keep doing that. It’s that simple.

    To tell another human being not to have their love recognized but to have yours recognized is non-sense.

    You work with and have people in your family that are homosexual and most will tell you it’s not by choice.

    Live your life and leave others alone. Let these people have peace. God will judge each man and woman separately. He really doesn’t need your input or judgement.

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  44. Wfish says:

    This really something up for discussion. Wow
    Our youths need proper guidance.

  45. Hmm says:

    Why didn’t you do a referendum on some of the bullsh..t you did in the past like giving usvi our water rights. We don’t want any referendum on Bullsh..t we want an election.

    It’s December and we still don’t have a day for nomination day or elections. You and your team are behaving like tyrants who want to keep the people in bondage. Stop stalling and call an election we don’t want VIP or you or this fiasco of a Government leading us.

  46. Rubber Duck says:

    Margaret Thatcher said

    “Perhaps the late Lord Attlee was right,” she observed, “when he said that the referendum was a device of dictators and demagogues.”

    Legislators are supposed to lead and then have their leadership judged at the voting box. They are not supposed to follow the mob.

  47. Busy Bee says:

    Too true, we all know how the vote will come out. A foregone conclusion.
    This is really a typical politician’s cop out… “Refer it to the people” when the politicians aren’t brave enough to deal with it as they were elected to do.
    So now the pols will champion “the people have spoken” when they really lack the courage to provide “equal protection under the law” to all residents of the Virgin Islands.
    If the government cannot treat all people equally under the law, then perhaps they ought to get out of the marriage business.

    Like 8
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  48. @@ not the answer says:

    Gay marriage is NOT about seeking and obtaining a “special right” as you indicated. It’s about:

    1. People loving and marrying whom they wish to marry, and

    2. Having the choice to marry like EVERY OTHER CITIZEN. As the law stands currently, that right to marry by same sex couples is being denied.

    If this country has equal protection under the law for ALL it’s citizens, then gay folks should be able as citizens to marry like all other heterosexual couples.

    This argument of “special rights” has been put out there in every jurisdiction by those who are/were against same sex marriages before the court, and has been on the losing end of the argument each time.

    That argument failed then and elsewhere, and it will fail here as well.

    Nothing special about wanting what everyone else has. It’s called fairness.

    Live and let live. Love ALWAYS wins.

    Like 10
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  49. @ Free the weed says:

    History needs to read,studied and observed..

    The history and legacy of the UK philantrophy and other to the VI and its people have been, from colonialism, from 1775, to slavery, to post slavery have been the prison industry; the prison industry and the prison industry. 1775 t0 present the prson system..

    Not one school,hospital, or any institution that would uplift their so called subjects mentally, intellectually, socially and especially economically…

    Yet many a fools will still bow down before any of them, from the commoner to the royalt.

  50. Seriously? says:

    So many other great questions that should and could be answered by a referendum and this is what the Head of State wants to waste tax dollars on?

  51. ??? says:

    Same sex wedding is a “civil union” not a “marriage”. Marriage is between opposite sex, a man and a woman.

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  52. No it's not. says:

    Marriage existed prior to church adopting it. Get your history right. Thanks.

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  53. BIG AL says:


  54. @honest truth says:

    Thats BS they really want to try hard to dismiss responsibility for the slave trade. News flash Mali had more gold than they knew what to do with. Those are the things European powers dont want us to remember.

  55. The Merovingian says:

    The illusion of choice.

  56. catholic says:

    But same sex marriage = democracy, human rights. Polygamy = abuse of human rights impose of SHARIA! Sexual orientation is born factor, religion is cultural factor. Religion shouldn’t have priviledges over NATURE!

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