‘A long time coming’: Barbados celebrates a move decades in the making

Barbados celebrates becoming the 29th country to recognise same-sex marriages. You’ll soon be able to get married there too ‘A long time coming’: Barbados celebrates a move decades in the making Barbados became the…

‘A long time coming’: Barbados celebrates a move decades in the making

Barbados celebrates becoming the 29th country to recognise same-sex marriages. You’ll soon be able to get married there too

‘A long time coming’: Barbados celebrates a move decades in the making

Barbados became the 29th country in the world to recognise same-sex marriages on Friday, when it introduced civil unions for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage rights are set to be debated later this year.

A cabinet paper, dated 25 July, stated that, in accordance with the law, “the parties intending to engage in such a union shall declare that they do so voluntarily”, the Guardian reported.

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“On 28 July the government issued a cabinet paper, which was largely read and approved by cabinet during a private meeting and due consideration at a cabinet meeting that evening,” said Peter Seaton, chair of the association of registered celebrants, which welcomed the news.

“There’s been a long time coming,” he told the Guardian. “I don’t know what was the [the moment] where the [government] realised they were going to do this, but it’s come a long way. There’s probably been a lot of legal issues that have made it this way.”

The Cabinet paper made provision for a series of amendments to the law, including providing marriage licence for same-sex couples, and removing the need for faith groups and their clergy to perform same-sex marriages or solemnises such relationships.

Rita Henry, chair of the Barbados Gender Affairs Committee, told the Barbados Guardian the civil unions gave “same dignity and status as marriage, under the law”, before adding that the final law governing same-sex marriages was “going to be quite controversial”.

The legislation, which will come before the parliament later this year, will be the latest legalisation for same-sex marriage.

Barbados was the first country in the Caribbean to extend civil unions to same-sex couples and was one of the last countries to recognise same-sex marriage equality in the Western hemisphere, in 2004.

Earlier this month, St Lucia became the 15th country in the Caribbean to recognise same-sex marriage after the high court gave it the green light.

Couples in St Lucia can register for a marriage licence and use the same insurance and pension provisions that heterosexual couples can, said the president of the St Lucia Family Registry, Christopher Bateman.

“This is a significant historic moment. We have always been a progressive country. We have always led, we have always provided opportunity, so it’s a very happy day for us,” Bateman told the Guardian.

Meanwhile St Vincent, a twin-island country of two and a half million people, passed a law allowing same-sex marriage at its general assembly earlier this month.

Vermont, which became the first US state to allow same-sex marriage in 2013, is currently the only state to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.

Closer to home, Barbados recently voted in favour of increasing the minimum wage for workers by 3.1%, from £4.60 to £5.20 an hour, according to the Guardian.

The announcement comes shortly after President Maithripala Sirisena returned from a two-day visit to the British Virgin Islands, where he met the island’s foreign minister, Malcolm Webb, to boost a trans-partnership between the two countries. Sirisena signed an executive order promoting the ban.

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