Britain: Same-sex marriage & immigration are matters for Territories
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has clarified that same sex marriage is primarily a matter for the Territories to decide and that the UK would continue to respect the fact that immigration decisions are primarily a matter for OT governments.
This was in an official response to the report published earlier this year from the UK’s Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) entitled “Global Britain and the British Overseas Territories: Resetting the relationship”.
The Governor’s Office has announced the response today and highlighted that it represents the UK Government’s formal response to the FAC report and covers all the FAC’s recommendations.
Two sections of note are:
The FCO reiterated that same sex marriage is primarily a matter for the Territories to decide. The FAC report had recommended that the Government set a date by which it expected all OTs to have legalised same sex marriage. The response confirmed that the UK Government is committed to equal rights, including LGBT rights. It confirmed the Government’s belief that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which all citizens can live freely without fear of discrimination, and where all citizens, including LGBT people, can play a full and active part in society.
The FCO confirmed that the UK would continue to respect the fact that immigration decisions are primarily a matter for OT governments. This was in response to the FAC recommendation that the UK Government should initiate a consultation with the elected governments of the OTs and work with them to agree a plan to ensure that there is a pathway for all resident UK and British Overseas Territory Citizens to be able to vote and hold elected office.
A full copy of the FCO’s response to the FAC is here.
An FCO Spokesperson said: “We take our responsibilities to the OTs extremely seriously. The UK Government works hard to assist the OTs in building successful and resilient economies, improving standards of governance and protecting vulnerable groups; and providing support to aid protection of the environment. The UK’s commitment to these will not waiver."