LONDON, England – The House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee wants all British overseas territories (OT), including those in the Caribbean, to legitimize same sex marriages.
In addition, the committee believes the British government could do more than “simply support” same sex marriages in principle.
In its 44-page report titled “Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the Relationship”, the committee said “it is time for all OTs to legalize same-sex marriage and for the U.K. Government to do more than simply support it in principle.
“It must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalized homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so. The Government should set a date by which it expects all OTs to have legalized same-sex marriage. If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council.”
The OTs in the Caribbean include Montserrat, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Bermuda, Turks and Caicos Islands and the Cayman Islands.They are not part of the U.K. and each has its own constitution, but all share a bond with the U.K.
In the report, the committee is also calling on the British government to urgently address concerns in the OTs about the issue of citizenship by descent and anomalies in the British Nationality Act that have taken too long to resolve.
“It should also consider options for removing quotas on the number of people in the OTs that can access NHS (National Health Service) services in the U.K.,” it added.
The committee said“belongership” and its equivalents are wrong, noting that “while we recognize that the OTs are small communities with unique cultural identities, we do not accept that there is any justification to deny legally-resident British Overseas Territory and U.K. citizens the right to vote and to hold elected office.
It suggested that London should initiate a consultation with the elected governments of the OTs and work with them to agree a plan to ensure that there is a pathway for all resident U.K. and British overseas territory citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office in territory.