No Orders in Council to force same-sex marriages on Overseas Territories.
That’s the word from UK Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad as he faced the UK Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday evening (18 December.)
It was one of several controversial topics raised at the committee, along with the issue of mandatory beneficial ownership public registries.
British lawmakers and dignitaries Tuesday testified in front of the UK parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee responding to its inquiries on how overseas territories deal with the issue of same-sex marriage.
“At the moment there are no plans to intervene or interject or introduce an Order of Council to that effect,” said Lord Ahmad.
The Overseas Territories Minister placed the UK government’s cards on the table on the issue.
“I am hoping that the outcome will be that the judicial process in this case in Bermuda will uphold the original decision and that will act, in a way, as a catalyst for other territories to look long and hard at what decisions were taken and how law was upheld and how they should act in accordance with that,” said Mr. Ahmad.
Senior government officials faced the committee where they spoke about mandatory public beneficial ownership registries.
“I have been very upfront. I do not think it (registries) will exist globally by 2023. So there is a risk there will be some asset flow from certain territories to others which have a more liberal regime. As yet we have not seen evidence of that,” said Mr. Ahmad.
Overseas Territories have until 2023 for operational implementation of the registries, that’s when the UK hopes it will be the global standard.
The UK promised to assist in putting the legislation together to make that happen.
“The basic part is the drafting, to make sure all of this is done properly and we provide quite a lot of legislative drafting support on a number of other areas so we will build on that as well,” said Ben Merrick FCO Director.
The parliamentary committee is inquiring into the future of the UK Overseas Territories relationship.
Bermuda’s Court of Appeal last month overturned a law passed in February to ban same-sex marriage.
Cayman-based attorney Leonardo Raznovich submitted written evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee in relation to its inquiry.