Bill #14-1462, the "marriage equality bill"
Author/Sponsor: Senator Judi Buckley
Date Introduced: Draft submitted May 2014; in legal counsel; not yet introduced on the Senate floor
- A bill supporting same-sex marriage, changing the language of the V.I. Code Title 16 from "between a male and a female," to "between two persons." The bill also includes a subsection that would ensure that any person, including members of clergy, have the right to decline to conduct any marriage, including one for a same-sex couple.
- Additionally, revisions to the Code under the bill would allow for courts to proceed with divorces and annulments in V.I. Superior Court related to same-sex marriages.
- The bill has yet to go before the V.I. Senate, but it is creating a stir, riling supporters and opponents, though it is hard to say how many people are on either side of the issue. Sen. Buckley doubts it will debut on the V.I. Senate floor before she leaves office at the end of her term in January 2015, but she said she is glad to see that the conversation already is in full swing.
- While the drafted bill still is in the hands of legal counsel, Buckley said she is considering making additional changes to Title 16 that would assuage residents' fears that her bill would be a slippery slope into marriage deregulation. She is not sure to which committee the bill will be assigned once it is released from legal counsel.
- 24 July 2014, a petition drive to garner public support for the bill was organized by Virgin Islands Equality For All.
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