EXCLUSIVE: Same-Sex Couple Moves To Court To Have Marriage Legalise

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By BVI Platinum News

Updated 7:30 AM AST, Mon Nov 01, 2021

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(Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News)

(PLTM) - In what is anticipated to be a landmark case, a local same-sex couple has moved to the courts to get their marriage fully recognised here in the British Virgin Islands.

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The couple, Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome, has filed a Constitutional Motion following a decision by the Registrar General on February 2, 2021, not to issue them with a Marriage License on the basis that the Applicants were of the same sex.

Forbes and Lettsome are seeking a declaration that the marriage between them which took place in the United Kingdom on July 5, 2019, but with effect from July 28, 2011, is valid under the laws of the BVI.

BVI Platinum News contacted the couple, who explained that they have been married under UK law for over 10 years now and have been together for 15.

“We are both Virgin Islanders who grew up in the Virgin Islands (VI) and passionately advocate for our Territory's progress across many fronts,” the couple shared.

The couple added, “We are applying for our marriage to be recognised in the VI so that we can enjoy all civil rights enjoyed by married persons in the Territory. We look forward to the day when our marriage will be fully recognised under VI law.”

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According to court documents, on January 29th, 2021, the applicants applied to the Registrar General for a marriage license pursuant to Section 26 of the Marriage Act and that the Registrar General conduct the ceremony pursuant to Section 15 (2) of the Marriage Act.

However, on February 2, 2021, the Registrar General refused both requests on the grounds that the applicants were of the same sex.

The couple is contending that the prohibition of same sex marriages contravenes sections 9, 12, 19, 20, 21 and 26 of the Constitution and, by virtue of section 31 and 115, the existing laws that so prohibit must be modified to bring them into conformity.

The couple is being represented by PST Law while the respondents are the Registrar General and the Attorney General.

The case is set to be heard for the first time on November 9, 2021, before Justice Darshan Ramdhani.

Same-Sex Marriages Debate

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Like many countries, the debate on same-sex marriages has been very fierce. The churches continue to be vocal against such marriages, but the United Kingdom (UK) has been encouraging Overseas Territories to accept and recognise such unions.

The United Kingdom’s (UK) Foreign Affairs Select Committee had prepared a report on the future relationship between the UK and OTs, with sweeping changes being proposed, including for a date to be set for all OTs to legalise same-sex marriages.

Under the ‘global Britain agenda’ it is proposed that the UK Government must be prepared to intervene through legislation or an Order in Council if the date is not met.

Shortly after being elected, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie spoke on the matter, stating, “The people of the Virgin Islands are the voice of God in the Virgin Islands. They’ll have to say what they want for the Virgin Islands.”

He said that as the Premier, he cannot make any unilateral decisions on such matters, saying, “That’s not a matter for the Premier alone. The people have to be heard, the elected representatives’ voices have to be heard, and then we’ll have a decision.”

The proposal for the imposed legalisation was one which was met with rejection by political aspirants during the last campaign season, with most persons coming to a consensus that there must be consultation with the people.

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One of those, Territorial At Large candidate with the Progressive Virgin Islands Movement (PVIM), Apostle Curnal Fahie says he will not stand for it in the BVI.

Addressing a rally at Fahie Hill, he said that the issue is “coming in the pipes.”

“We have to rise up and stand against issues like these. We can no longer be quiet in the land,” he stated.

The religious leader firmly affirmed, “I am going to advocate and stand up against it.”

For those living the lifestyle, he said, “You can do whatever you want in your house, that’s your business, but you can’t force all of us to accept.”

In remarks directed to Premier Fahie during his first sitting as Premier in the House of Assembly, Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser—who has represented his constituency for over two decades, raised the issue.

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“They’re also talking about same-sex marriages. In the past, our Government has avoided that like a plague. Our country has avoided that like a plague and wished for the British Government to impose imperial legislation upon us...It’s an issue that you have to face…It’s not an issue that you can avoid and walk away from,” he had warned the new Premier.

The Cayman Case

Over in Cayman Islands, the legal battle over the issue of whether same-sex marriage should be legalised was heard before the Privy Council in the UK earlier this year.

The appellants in Cayman, Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, took their case to the UK’s highest court with the hopes that it would side with Cayman’s Grand Court and make same-sex marriage legal in Cayman.

According to the Cayman Compass, Day and Bodden Bush were denied a marriage licence in 2018 after their application was rejected on the basis that the Marriage Law defines marriage as “the union between a man and a woman as husband and wife”.

The Compass reported that in March 2019, the Grand Court found in their favour, ruling that preventing same-sex marriage was incompatible with Cayman’s Bill of Rights, as set out in the Constitution, which guarantees the right to private and family life.

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In November 2019, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal overturned that decision, ruling that the right to marry under the Constitution does not cover same-sex couples. However, the Cayman Compass reported that the court also ordered government to act “expeditiously” to provide the couple with legal status equivalent to marriage.

The couple subsequently appealed to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. A decision is pending.

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Reader Opinion

Please note that the opinions posted are the opinions of its author and does not in any way reflect the views of the management, staff, parent company or sponsors of Virgin Islands Platinum News.
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24 Comments
'I Say'
The Bible says "Woe beyond to those raising children in the last days." I feel for the poor children who are looking into the face of these confused individuals and seeing normalcy. It is not normal for two men to marry. It is not normal for two women to marry. Whose normal? The Bible speaks of "a man and a woman". It also speaks of being fruitful and multiplying. Come on. God made us higher than the animals. We have a brain that we can process right from wrong. Live however you want. Have your relationships. Nobody says you cannot, but why change the norms of a small community like this? For money? You want your wife to get your social security benefits? You can put her name on your bank accounts. You can give her whatever you have that you want her to have. Okay. You are married. Why do we have to call you Mrs. Forbes? We acknowledge it and we are happy that you're happy. Now, stop making the rest of us unhappy and confusing the damn children coming behind. It is like raising your children genderless. If your son has a penis and you choose to dress him in a dress, the only thing you are doing is confusing the hell out of him because all the other boys around him are wearing pants. God, please help us in this said, sick world. Help us all to call out to you and you come soon, please, God.
Like · · 35w ago
7 Likes
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100% Support
Wow....you really got issues. Seems like gay marriage have you bent in knots. Untwist yourself. Being bent out of shape is not good for your health. All you got is same tired and played out typical bible argument. First, who give you the authority to decide what's normal for 2 consenting adults? Who give you the authority to decide what's best for an adult do with their social security benefits or money? What business is it of yours? Also, how is that a decision of 2 adults relative to their lives causing you to be "unhappy and confusing the damn children coming behind."? You are choosing to be unhappy because you have no tolerance of others who may have a different sexual identity than yours, and you have no ability to accept what you cannot change. All you have is throwing the bible around which is a played out argument against gay marriage. You need to live your life, and stop worrying about what other people do in their individual lives. When you do, you will find happiness. While you may not agree, most gay, bi, transsexuals' persons will tell you they have felt this way since early childhood. There sexual identity/orientation was no more of a choice for them than it was for you. You may consider yourself heterosexual, but in my experience in life, those who throw around the bible as a reason for their objection against gay marriage may have sexual identity issues of their own but have not been able to face it, so they make noise and deflect attention from themselves. So you may have issues with your sexuality and in a defensive mode for all we know. Look..here is the bottom line. This is not about your life or anyone else other than the 2 persons involved. You don't care for gay marriage then don't marry someone of the same sex. Mind your business and keep it moving. God forbid one of your children turns out to be gay. Your child would feel very unloved as they will find no compassion, understanding or support from you. In all probability you will get on your high and mighty moral and judgmental high horse with your bible waving in hand pretending to be the moral authority on life which none of us are. Get over yourself, and stay in your lane. Mind your business. You are too busy worrying about something that you have no power to change. Live your life and let others live theirs. Is that too hard to do?
Like · 35w ago
4 Likes
Legalize Polygamy Too
This is not even a big deal. They're already married and everybody here knows it. I'm not sure what benefits they're seeking in regards to it but whatever. What we need to be focusing on pertaining to marriage is legalizing polygamy. Many men have more than one woman anyhow. If he wants to make it legal, it needs to be allowed. Then the divorce rate will reduce and it can bring some structure to the other existing relationships that he already has, eliminating the need for him to be sneaking around and his first wife playing an investigative role trying to find out who he's with.
Like · · 35w ago
4 Likes
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Help!
The only place you will have legal right is in HELL.
Like · · 35w ago
6 Likes
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I Choose Love
Anyone who thinks being Gay is a “Life Style” or “choice” must not truly know someone who is homosexual. It is often a great struggle for people to acknowledge that they are homosexual, even to themselves, because it’s been so stigmatized. Who would choose to be the recipient of so much judgement, and bullying, and disdain and hate from others who claim to be holier than thou?!
Like · · 35w ago
10 Likes
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Really? In 2021
All through the last few months we have heard talk of a modern partnership and a BVI that wants to grow and develop On this basis alone there has to be equal rights for everyone. As things stand we look like bigots that want to live the life of the past century Just because our roads and sewers is from the last century doesn’t surely mean our treatment of each other has to be Thank you to this couple. So happy you are together and showing dedication by being married 10 years and together 15. A good lesson to many people about true love.
Like · · 35w ago
12 Likes
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Vox Populi
The Premier has entered very dangerous territory when he says the voice of the people is the voice of God. Vox populi vox dei is contrary to the teaching of the Bible and particularly the teachings of Jesus. It was the voice of the people that crucified Jesus by the way.
Like · · 35w ago
7 Likes
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Just Me
All you bible thumpers out there just pick and choose which parts of your book you want to follow. Read in the bible how to treat your slaves and that women should be silent in church just two of so many examples. Where did your book teach you to hate a certain group of people??
Like · · 35w ago
18 Likes
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'Jeez'
god is the only one to judge! AMEN AMEN!
Like · · 35w ago
1 Like
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Judgement Day
Fire burn this sin!
Like · · 35w ago
7 Likes
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The Signs Are Fulfilling !!!
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…” (Mark 10:6-8, quoting Genesis 2:24). However, God has turned around and give us the choice to be obedient or disobedient to his laws . He does not force anyone to serve . It is a freedom . Nevertheless, there are consequences of disobedience. In His love and mercy he is always willing to forgive if we are repentant. The wages of sin is death . That is not a sin He will not forgive . Willful acts of sin is of the evil one
Like · · 35w ago
11 Likes
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HELP
Andrew Fahie will fight against anything the UK makes law. what the hell he means when he says he will not stand for it in the BVI? just to remind you Andrew you don't have the last say about any laws the UK makes. I am sure you are going to find that out soon Boy.
Like · · 35w ago
6 Likes
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In Support
BVI is behind the times. Let this couple be legally recognized. It will happen one day whether people like it or not. This couple should start a petition.
Like · · 35w ago
24 Likes
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BVI Is Not Ready For This
Best them had stayed in the UK where that is tolerated
Like · · 35w ago
22 Likes
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100% Support
Ready or not, life goes forward. If some of you folks have issue with this, that is your problem. No one is sitting around waiting for your readiness or acceptance. You may never be ready and no one should have to wait until you do. The train will leave without you. Live and let live. Mind your business. Do you and stop worrying about what others do. You cannot control people try as you may.
Like · 35w ago
28 Likes
God’S Laws Reign SUPREME
“From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…” (Mark 10:6-8, quoting Genesis 2:24). Stop trying to rewrite God’s LAWS!!!!!!! You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons, too. You cannot share in the Lord’s table and the table of demons, too. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:21
Like · · 35w ago
16 Likes
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@This Is Played Out
No dear it was NOT the same Bible. The "slave bible" was altered significantly...know the true history!!!
Like · 35w ago
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Jane
@This is Played Out: Yes some very troubling verses about slavery in the Bible: Titus 2:9-10 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. Or how about : Leviticus 25:44-46 ESV As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are around you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their clans that are with you, who have been born in your land, and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you to inherit as a possession forever. Interesting that it is the hateful text in Leviticus which is the bigot's choice to justify discrimination against our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I much prefer the central ethos of Christianity as set out in John 4:7: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.
Like · 35w ago
9 Likes
Hmmmm
discrimination in any form is wrong!!!!
Like · 35w ago
23 Likes
This Is Played Out
Did you know the same Bible you quoting was used to keep us enslaved through the teachings?
Like · 35w ago
20 Likes
Finally...
I am happy for them. You have put your names, your life, and everything else on the line for others who were not willing to do the same. Fraser is right, we have to confront this now rather than later when it is forced on us by the UK
Like · · 35w ago
28 Likes
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BCM
Finally! The fight for equal rights and justice must be fought!!! Based on his embarrassing performance in the last election it’s obvious that the apostle ain’t too influential. Nobody checking for he.
Like · · 35w ago
11 Likes
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Doh
Notice how Dear Leader deflects the issue with comments of God and the will of the people. Total denial. Either the BVI allows this to happen or the Queen will declare a court order. We don’t want the latter as it makes us look even more bigoted than we already are. Times are changing and we must adapt with them.
Like · · 35w ago
23 Likes
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100% Support
Finally a couple came forward to challenge the law on same sex marriages, and a good one too. Thanks Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome for bringing this case forward. You will open doors for others to love who they love and live their lives accordingly. There is absolutely no justifiable reason why your marriage should not be recognized in the British Virgins Islands. I say thank you because it's about time the BVI move forward and recognize that people of the LGBT community exists here and should be able to love who they love and marry them if they wish. You were married in the U.K., and your marriage should be recognized in the BVI being that it is a U.K. oversees territory. All the best.
Like · · 35w ago
47 Likes
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