July 10, 2015 at 5:30 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Virgin Islands governor signs marriage executive order

Virgin Islands, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Virgin Islands Gov. Kenneth Mapp on July 9, 2015, signed an executive order that requires the territory’s government to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that extended marriage rights to same-sex couples throughout the country. (Photo courtesy of the Mapp/Potter Campaign)

The governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands on Thursday signed an executive order that requires officials in the territory to allow same-sex couples to marry.

Gov. Kenneth Mapp signed the mandate less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry throughout the country. The St. Croix Source reported that Senate President Neville James, who is acting lieutenant governor while Lt. Gov. Osbert Potter is away from the U.S. territory, must “attest” to Mapp’s signature before his executive order takes effect.

Same-sex couples in neighboring Puerto Rico will be able to legally marry as of July 15.

Gays and lesbians are able to exchange vows in nearby St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. Same-sex couples can also legally marry in the Netherlands Antilles — Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba — and on the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten recognize same-sex marriages that are performed in the Netherlands.

Mariela Castro Espín, daughter of Cuban President Raúl Castro, publicly supports marriage rights for gays and lesbians on her country.

A leading Jamaican newspaper described the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Obergefell case as “courageous.” Religious officials on the island have sharply criticized the decision.

Consensual same-sex sexual activity remains illegal in Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St. Lucia, Barbados, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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