LGBT rights in the British Virgin Islands

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LGBT rights in the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal since 2000
Gender identity/expression -
Recognition of
No recognition of same-sex couples
Adoption -
Military service -UK overseas territory - United Kingdom responsible for defense thus Gay and Lesbians allows to openly serve.
Discrimination protections - All gay discrimination banned.

LGBT rights in the British Virgin Islands are seen to be restricted in comparison to most Western countries.

Laws against homosexuality

Although anal sex is technically a criminal offence under British Virgin Islands law as the crime of buggery under the British Virgin Islands Criminal Code, buggery between two consenting adult males in private has been expressly legalised by an order-in-council in the British Virgin Islands (and other British Caribbean territories) by the British Government pursuant to the Caribbean Territories (Criminal Law) Order, 2000 Sections 3(1) and 3(7)[1]. According to section 4 of the order, the law was passed retrospectively. However there were two excpetions to the law where group gay sex , or sex in public, remains a criminal offence and may also lead to a charge under gross indecency and other minor sexual offence laws [2]. Other homosexual acts have not been expressly legalised, although it is not clear that they ever amounted to a criminal offence in any event.

As a British overseas territory, the British Virgin Islands Government is required to comply with their obligations under the international human rights instruments which have been extended to them. Specifically this includes an adherence to the European Convention of Human Right which highlight a responsibility to ensure non discrimination[3].

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Conversely, same-sex marriage in the British Virgin Islands is not legal under British Virgin Islands law. The British Virgin Islands is an extremely religious and highly homophobic society, and any prospects of legalisation appear remote. The most recent draft of the new constitution of the Territory (approved unanimously in a non-binding vote in May 2007) affirmed the Territory as a nation that believes in God. Although the draft constitution also prohibits discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation, it is unlikely that this would be interpreted as a basis for judicial legalisation of same-sex marriage.

See also



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