BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - THE Mia Mottley-led Government is moving to recognise the civil union of same-sex couples in Barbados, as the island seeks to move in-line with a number of human rights policies.
The announcement of the move was made during the opening of the new session of Parliament on Tuesday morning (Sept. 15) by Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason.
In announcing a number of sweeping changes being proposed, the Governor-General stated that the Government is not allowing same-sex marriage in any form, and that the civil union proposal must be put to the people via a referendum.
“My Government is prepared to recognise a form of civil unions for couples of the same gender so as to ensure that no human being in Barbados will be discriminated against in the exercise of civil rights that ought to be theirs...I wish to emphasise that the Government is not allowing any form of same-sex marriage and will put this matter to a public referendum, ” she disclosed.
While acknowledging the complexity of the world within which Barbados operates, the Governor-General pointed to the poor human rights record that Barbados has on the internal stage when it comes to this and other topics.
“The legal systems of modern societies have recognised many different forms of human relationships. Barbados is now increasingly finding itself on international lists, including in the multilateral system which identifies us as having a poor human rights record.
“Barbados does not conduct business [and] trade with itself or gives itself loan funding,” she noted, pointing out that when the human rights record is compared with modern standards, it impacts other issues and how the territory is viewed internationally.
She explained that if the territory is to be viewed as one of the progressive nations in the world, the island “cannot afford to lose its international leadership place and reputation”.
“My Government will do the right thing, understanding that this too will attract controversy. Equally, it is our hope that with the passage of time, changes we now propose will be part of the fabric of our record of law and human rights and social justice.”
This announcement by the Barbados Government comes on the heels of the Premier of Cayman Islands announcing that he would allow sax sex marriage in the territory, something that has received significant pushback from residents.