World

The World’s Smallest Country Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Sumner Park Contributor

The world’s smallest country just passed a law allowing same-sex marriage.

Although the law was passed May 15, it just recently became publicized online after the island’s website experienced technical difficulties, delaying its publication, the Associated Press reported.

Pitcairn Island, a British Overseas Territory situated between New Zealand and Chile, is home to just 48 people who descended from the mutineers of the British navy vessel HMS Bounty and their Tahitian partners. The tiny Pacific island was first inhabited in 1790 and became a British colony in 1838, with some legal autonomy.

Deputy Governor Kevin Lynch said the new law, billed as Same Sex Marriage and Civil Partnership Ordinance 2015, came to consideration by authorities after Britain’s counterparts, including England, Wales and Scotland, legalized same-sex marriage last year. The local council unanimously approved the legislation.

The change in law came to notice in an announcement placed on the veranda of the town hall and in the island’s general store.

However, the law will have no impact on residents of the Island, as seventh-generation islander Meralda Warren said that there are no gay couples wanting to wed.

“It’s not Pitcairn Islanders that were pushing for it,” she said. “But it’s like anything else in the world. It’s happening everywhere else, so why not?”

While the country might be the smallest by population, its new law has made a big contribution to the advocacy of same-sex marriage.

“It shows how much the islanders value equality and inclusion,” the national director of the same-sex advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, Rodney Croome, said.

Croome said that even if there are no gay couples on the island, it could be an attraction to those from other places. He added that some couples from an off island might find it to be a romantic destination, including Australians who can’t marry in their own country.

“It effectively says that gay islanders belong as much as anyone else, and that’s a positive message.”