“On this matter, the world has spoken. If we wish to be considered amongst the progressive nations of the world, Barbados cannot afford to lose its international leadership place and reputation. Nor can a society as tolerant as ours, allow itself to be “blacklisted” for human and civil rights abuses or discrimination on the matter of how we treat to human sexuality and relations.”
Governor-General, Dame Sandra Mason
(CMR) Barbados has admitted that it will be looking to recognize same-sex unions after being identified as having a poor human rights record. Unlike Cayman, they will be making the move voluntarily as they maintain the importance of equality for all including the LGBTQ+ community.
Their most recent discussion came during the opening of the Barbados Parliament and weeks after the Civil Partnership Law was passed in the Cayman Islands by the FCO.
In her parliamentary address, the Governor-General, Dame Sandra Mason, said that Barbados has always been the forerunners for social justice, the protection of civil rights, and the battle to ensure dignity to the poor, marginalized, vulnerable and dispossessed. She shared:
“Our generation must do no less; for compassion, decency, empathy, kindness, fairness, and justice are what characterize us as a people,”
She mentioned the historical impact of the Charter of Barbados which was signed in 1962 and gave rise to the expression, “no taxation without representation” as an example. That would eventually the fighting words for American colonists and the American War of Independence against Britain.
However, it appears more than outside pressure on Barbados is having a greater impact as it was stated that:
“Barbados does not conduct business, trade with itself or give itself loan funding. In some cases, our human rights record, when viewed against modern international standards, impacts these other issues and how we are viewed amongst the global family of nations.”
The Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley also signaled several months ago that the country needed to start to have the necessary but difficult discussions on this topic. She accepted that equality is the way forward and that the country’s historical discriminator actions were no excuse to continue in that vein:
“The settlement of Barbados was birthed and fostered in discrimination, but the time has come for us to end discrimination in all forms. I wish to emphasize that my government is not allowing any form of same-sex marriage, and will put this matter to a public referendum. My government will accept and be guided by the vote of the public as promised in the manifesto.”
In comments made in July, she compared discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community to that of the Black Lives Matter movement in America.