St. Helena – which was formally known as the British Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha – has officially legalised same-sex marriage in a 9-2 vote by the country’s legislative council.

The island has a nation of 4,500 and was the final of the three to bring marriage equality into law.

Ascension previously legalised same-sex marriage on 1 January, while Tristan da Cunha followed on 4 August.

However, during St. Helena’s vote, council member Corinda Essex abstained as she opposed the proposed change in law.

“I have no objection to same-sex relationships and indeed I respect them I know a number of people who have entered into them,” she said.

“I am no way homophobic in any respect.

“However I believe that can be achieved through civil partnership. I believe very strongly that marriage was ordained not just in the Christian faith but in all the [main] faiths of the world… [as being] between a man and a woman.”

She did, however, concede that global attitudes towards same-sex amrriage are changing fast and that it was important to “put our personal views aside and consider the bigger picture.”

One creature on the island who recently made headlines will certainly be very happy with the vote.

At the grand old age of 186, Jonathan is the world’s oldest tortoise who has resided at Plantation House on the island of St Helena since the reign of Queen Victoria.

For decades, people thought Jonathan’s partner of 26 years was female, but back in October vets discovered that he’s actually a male.

It meant that one of the world’s oldest living creatures is in a same-sex relationship.

St. Helena’s decision comes days after Bermuda became the first ever nation to reverse their legalisation of same-sex marriage.

The island nation and North Atlantic British Overseas Territory’s Supreme Court effectively legalised same-sex marriage earlier this year with a landmark ruling, after it deemed a ban on such a union a discriminatory violation of human rights.

However, last week the Bermuda Assembly voted to re-ban same-sex marriage just six months after the initial ruling.

Lawmakers have proposed a new bill where same-sex couples can enter into a domestic partnership instead.

 

This article was originally published on Gay Times Magazine. Read the original article.