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The British Virgin Islands Christian Council (BVICC), has been granted permission to appeal a recent judgment concerning marriage between a same-sex couple in the British Virgin Islands.
The judgment was made by Justice Adrian Jack, who is presiding over the High Court matter.
The appeal made by the BVICC was granted by Justice Gerard Farara following the council’s ‘recent and urgent’ application to appeal the matter.
On Thursday, the British overseas territory’s Attorney General, Dawn Smith requested an adjournment for a hearing listed for Thursday and Friday, stating among other things, that her chambers had difficulty obtaining instructions from its clients, the BVI government.
However, Justice Jack was not satisfied with the explanation, so he denied the request.
Following that denial, the Christian Council went to the Court of Appeal — where Farara serves as a judge — for redress and filed a certificate of urgency to have the Appeal Court’s decision expedited.
The Council sought for the Court of Appeal to halt proceedings in the same-sex case until an appeal hearing is held and a determination of that hearing made.
Farara ruled that “the applicant (the attorney general) has a realistic prospect of success and therefore ought to be granted leave to appeal.
The court therefore granted the application for leave to appeal against the judgment of Justice Jack. It also granted an “interim stay of proceedings” pending the aforementioned appeal hearing and determination of the application to seek an adjournment.
The court case concerns the validity of the marriage between Kinisha Forbes and Kirsten Lettsome and whether any prohibition against same-sex marriage in the BVI is contrary to the constitution of the Virgin Islands.
The couple entered a civil partnership in 2011 in the United Kingdom and was later issued a marriage certificate once the UK’s same-sex couples law came into effect.
Both the Christian Council and the government are interested parties in the case.
Premier Dr. Natalio Wheatley recently in commenting on the court matter, suggested that no judge or external government should be allowed to make a decision on the BVI’s laws on same-sex marriage.