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Same-sex marriage in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

Same-sex marriage in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, one of the 14 British Overseas Territories, gradually became legal in 2017. An ordinance legalising same-sex marriage in Ascension Island took effect on 1 January 2017, Tristan da Cunha followed suit on 4 August, and Saint Helena on 20 December.

HistoryEdit

 
Same-sex sexual activity legal
  Same-sex marriage
  No recognition of same-sex couples
Same-sex sexual activity illegal
  Not enforced or unclear
  Penalty
  Life in prison
  Death penalty

Ascension IslandEdit

An ordinance allowing same-sex marriage was approved by the Ascension Island Council on 31 May 2016, in a 5–0 vote.[1][2] It was signed by the Governor and published in the official gazette on 20 June.[3] On 23 December 2016, the Governor issued an order to commence the law on 1 January 2017.[4][5]

31 May 2016 vote in the Ascension Island Council[2]
Voted for Absent/Excused

Tristan da CunhaEdit

On 23 February 2017, after consultation with the Governor of Saint Helena, the Tristan da Cunha Island Council agreed that a law to legalise same-sex marriage would go forward formally for adoption.[6] On 4 August, the Marriages (Tristan da Cunha) Ordinance, 2017, extending the application of the Marriage (Ascension) Ordinance, 2016 to Tristan da Cunha, was signed by the Governor and published in the official gazette. It took effect upon publication.[7][8][9]

Saint HelenaEdit

On 27 April 2016, the Saint Helena Executive Council announced a public consultation on a draft of a new marriage ordinance, which, if approved, would allow same-sex couples to marry. The consultation lasted until 25 May,[10][11] and revealed a majority of respondents in favour of same-sex marriage.[12] On 15 November 2016, the Executive Council decided to allow a same-sex marriage bill to proceed to the Legislative Council, after the draft bill underwent a number of technical issues addressed by the Attorney General.[13][14][15]

On 12 December 2016, after a lengthy debate, the Legislative Council passed an amendment removing the provisions allowing same-sex marriage from the bill, which led to the entire bill being withdrawn.[16]

In January 2017, a same-sex couple applied to marry in Saint Helena. The registrar was in the process of obtaining legal advice as to how to proceed (the existing Marriage Ordinance 1851 being unclear on same-sex marriage) when two members of the public filed caveats (objections) to the marriage notice. Subsequently, the registrar referred the issue to the Chief Justice of the Saint Helena Supreme Court for a decision. A preliminary hearing took place in the court on 23 February 2017.[17] The parties in the case were given until July 2017 to submit their arguments.[18]

At the Legislative Council meeting on 22 September 2017, members agreed to notify the Council as to their opinions on the subject at a later meeting. This would allow another same-sex marriage ordinance to be debated before the end of the year, and avoid a full Supreme Court hearing on the issue, which was expected in January 2018.[19][20]

On 6 October 2017, the Legislative Council decided to conduct a series of public consultations on the bill throughout the month.[21][22] On 4 December, the Social & Community Development Committee, which conducted the consultations, recommended the Executive Council to approve the draft ordinance with one minor technical amendment, which the Executive Council did the following day.[23][24][25][26] On 19 December, after a failed attempt to remove the same-sex marriage portion of the legislation, the ordinance was approved by the Legislative Council by a 9–2 vote.[27][28][29] It was subsequently signed by the Governor of Saint Helena, becoming the Marriage Ordinance 2017, and took effect upon publication on 20 December 2017.[30]

19 December 2017 vote in the Legislative Council of Saint Helena[29]
Voted for Voted against Abstained

The first same-sex marriage in Saint Helena took place on 31 December 2018.[31][32]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "COUNCIL REPORT – 31 MAY 2016" (PDF). Ascension-island.gov.ac. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 October 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  2. ^ a b "MINUTES OF THE ASCENSION ISLAND COUNCIL (AIC)" (PDF). Ascension-island.gov.ac. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 August 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Marriage (Ascension) Ordinance, 2016" (PDF). Ascension-island.gov.ac. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 February 2017. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ "The St. Helena Government Gazette No 111 2016" (PDF). Ascension Island Government. 23 December 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Marriage (Ascension) (Commencement) Order, 2016" (PDF). Ascension Island Government. 1 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Facebook Post by Governor Lisa Phillips of Saint Helena". Facebook.com. 24 February 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  7. ^ Phillips, Lisa (4 August 2017). "Ascension Marriage Ordinance now extended to Tristan da Cunha. This means same sex marriage in both islands is enshrined in law". Twitter. Archived from the original on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  8. ^ "The St. Helena Government Gazette No. 57 of 2017" (PDF). Government of Saint Helena. 4 August 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 August 2017. Retrieved 4 August 2017.
  9. ^ "Marriage (Tristan da Cunha) Ordinance, 2017" (PDF). Government of Saint Helena. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2017. Retrieved 26 December 2017.
  10. ^ "Marriage Bill, Sunday'S Observance (Amendment) Bill And Employment Regulations « St Helena". Sainthelena.gov.sh. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Marriage Ordinance, 2016 (first draft)" (PDF). Sainthelena.gov.sh. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  12. ^ "Marriage Bill Questionnaire « St Helena". Sainthelena.gov.sh. 15 July 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  13. ^ "EXCO REPORT – TUESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2016 « St Helena". Sainthelena.gov.sh. 15 November 2016. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Marriage Ordinance, 2016 (second draft)" (PDF). Sainthelena.gov.sh.
  15. ^ "FORMAL LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL MEETING (09 December 2016)". Sainthelena.gov.sh. 5 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Updated Facebook Post by Governor Lisa Phillips of Saint Helena". Facebook.com. 12 December 2016. Retrieved 12 December 2016.
  17. ^ SUPREME COURT: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE APPLICATION – PRELIMINARY HEARING
  18. ^ SUPREME COURT: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE APPLICATION – PRELIMINARY HEARING (2)
  19. ^ "Same-sex marriage discussed - Notes from Friday's Informal LegCo. (page 11)" (PDF). South Atlantic Media Services, Ltd. 28 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Same Sex Marriage - On the Books Again. (page 8)" (PDF). St Helena Independent. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
  21. ^ "SOCIAL & COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE PUBLIC MEETINGS". Sainthelena.gov.sh. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Pride and Prejudice - Same-sex marriage debate heats up again. (pages 2 & 3)" (PDF). South Atlantic Media Services, Ltd. 12 October 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Marriage Bill - Memorandum by Chairman of the Social and Community Development Committee" (PDF). Saint Helena Government. 4 December 2017. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  24. ^ "EXCO REPORT – TUESDAY 5 DECEMBER 2017". Saint Helena Government. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  25. ^ "Marriage Bill 2017 - Final for LegCo" (PDF). Saint Helena Government. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  26. ^ Pipe, Simon (7 December 2017). "Gay marriage rights close to becoming law on St Helena". St Helena Online. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  27. ^ Corner, Lewis (22 December 2017). "The tiny island of St. Helena has just legalised same-sex marriage!". Gay Times. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  28. ^ Turner, Andrew (21 December 2017). "A Big Day for LegCo, and for the Island - Four Bills Pass, Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal" (PDF). South Atlantic Media Services, Ltd. p. 3. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  29. ^ a b Pipe, Simon (19 December 2017). "Same-sex marriage approved for St Helena: opponent calls for society to embrace the result". St Helena Online. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  30. ^ "Marriage Ordinance, 2017" (PDF). Saint Helena Government. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  31. ^ "History made on St Helena" (PDF). The St Helena Independent. 4 January 2019. p. 4. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  32. ^ Jackman, Josh (7 January 2019). "Saint Helena has held its first ever same-sex wedding". PinkNews. Retrieved 7 January 2019.