Five out of 14 of the British Overseas Territories don’t have equal marriage.
A parliamentary report from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee has called on the UK government to extend equal marriage to all British Overseas Territories.
The territories were exempt from introducing equal marriage when England and Wales legalised it back in 2013. Out of these territories nine have extended the right, while five of them haven’t.
The five territories without equal marriage are: Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands. And when representatives from the territories were asked by the committee if they would make moves to legalise it, none of them would commit to doing so.
In a report, published on Thursday (February 21), the committee called the situation “unsustainable.” They said: “It is time for all Overseas Territories to legalise same-sex marriage and for the UK 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 decriminalised homosexuality in Overseas Territories that had refused to do so.”
Amnesty International also called on the UK government to use this as an opportunity to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.
Patrick Corrigan, the Northern Ireland Programme Director for Amnesty International, said: “The foreign affairs committee has rightly noted that the lack of same-sex marriage is problematic to the point of being a source of friction between the UK and British Overseas Territories.
“This should be urgently addressed, either by the Territories themselves or the UK government.
“But the UK government and Parliament are in a weak position as long as a ban on same-sex marriage continues within the UK – namely, in Northern Ireland.
“The Government should first end discrimination against LGBT+ people within the UK and will then be in a stronger position of moral authority to deliver marriage equality overseas.
“We call on the Government to extend legislation for same-sex marriage to Northern Ireland without further delay.”