Monday, 29 October 2007 10:20 AM

Solomons Laws Do Not Recognise Same-Sex Marriage: Oti

Solomon Islands Laws does not recognise same-sex marriage.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Patteson Oti, made the revelation last week in a press conference with local journalists on the review of the Facilitation of International Assistance Act (FIAA).

He said the case of same-sex marriage is one of the things that necessitate the review of the FIAA, which governs the operation of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Mr. Oti made clear that under the Facilitation Act, members of RAMSI working in Solomon Islands are exempted from paying residential fees provided they show a marriage certificate.

"If you are bringing in your children, your spouse - particularly your spouse, you must show your marriage certificate. There has been an instance of same-sex partners, and they also apply for exemption for residence fee. But Solomon Islands Immigration laws do not recognise same-sex," the Foreign Affairs Minister said.

Mr. Oti said the spouse or partner of a RAMSI member of the same gender is, therefore, expected to pay the residence fee of seven-thousand dollars if the person wants to reside in the country.

He said another example of issues the government wants to review is the blanket immunity given to RAMSI members which is the same as the one given to diplomats.

Mr Oti said the situation during which RAMSI first came in 2003 is different from the present time, therefore there is a need to review the Facilitating Act.