If we had bacon …

If we had bacon …

If we had bacon, we could have bacon and eggs, if we had eggs.

I thought that quote was particularly apt when I learned today that the world’s smallest nation had legalised same-sex marriage.

Why? Because South Pacific island of Pitcairn (population 48) has no gays – and its sole preacher represents the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which is hostile towards gay marriage:

We reaffirm, without hesitation, our long-standing position as expressed in the Church’s Fundamental Beliefs: ‘Marriage was divinely established in Eden and affirmed by Jesus to be a lifelong union between a man and a woman in loving companionship.’


The Seventh Day Adventists once trumpeted their association with Pitcairn, but back in 2004, when the island found itself embroiled in a sex abuse scandal, pastor Ray Coombe, above, a senior Seventh Day Adventist minister from Australia serving as temporary pastor on Pitcairn, said:

Remember, this is no longer an Adventist island. Most of the people have turned away from their faith.

According to this report, seventh-generation resident Meralda Warren said she knew of just one islander who had identified as gay – and that was a long time ago.

But if the island had any gay couples wanting to marry they might be able to get island administrator to perform a non-religious ceremony, she added.

Pitcairn Island (National anthem: “Come Ye Blessed”) – approved gay marriage in mid-May, but the news has only just reached the outside world. Deputy Governor Kevin Lynch explained yesterday that  the new law hadn’t been published online because the island’s website had encountered some technical issues.

He said the change was suggested by British authorities after England, Wales and Scotland legalised same-sex marriage last year. He added the law change was unanimously approved by the local council.

Warren pointed out that, as with most law changes, a notice was put up on the verandah of the town hall and a second at the island’s general store.

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

Rodney Croome, the national director of the same-sex advocacy group Australian Marriage Equality, said even if there are no gay couples currently living on Pitcairn, there could be some who had left the island who might be able to return and marry.

And assuming there’s not a residency requirement, I could imagine some couples from off the island might find it a romantic destination, including Australians who can’t marry in their own country.

Croome said the law change also sends an important message.

It shows how much the islanders value equality and inclusion. It effectively says that gay islanders belong on Pitcairn Island as much as anyone else, and that’s a positive message.

First settled in 1790, Pitcairn is a British Overseas Territory that has some legal autonomy. It is often considered the world’s smallest country by population. Islanders are descended from the mutineers of the British navy vessel Bounty and their Tahitian companions. The Pitcairn Islands group comprises Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno.

Pitcairn is the only one that’s inhabited. It’s a small volcanic outcrop situated in the South Pacific at latitude 25.04 south and longitude 130.06 west. It is roughly 2170km (1350 miles) east south-east of Tahiti and just over 6600km (4100 miles) from Panama. The Islands’ administrative headquarters are situated in Auckland New Zealand, 5310km (3300 miles) away.

You can see some great shots of Pitcairn here.

13 responses to “If we had bacon …”

  1. JohnMWhite says:

    Meanwhile, in Michigan, a bill was introduced to require all marriage certificates to be signed by a religious cleric, hoping to remove the secular state’s role in marriage. Y’know, because love.

  2. Laura Roberts says:

    Anyone want to wager on whether the Satanic temple will step up, as they have in other cases? I can see the promotion now: “Get yer marriage certificates signed while they’re hot!” 🙂

  3. barriejohn says:

    An unexpected bounty for Pitcairn gays, but a not entirely surprising mutiny by Mr Christian, as per usual.

  4. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: Nice one.

  5. John the Drunkard says:

    Pitcairn’s sexual abuse scandal did not ‘happen’ in 2004. It appears that the routine sexual exploitation of underage girls was an entrenched social institution, going back for generations.
    (quick wiki-check)
    The Adventists have been in the saddle there since the 1890s. So their benign, morally uplifting presence doesn’t seem to have alleviated or prevented the scourge of child rape. All depending on whether the practice was a leftover from the original mutineers, or an Adventist import.

  6. barriejohn says:

    John the Somewhat Inebriated: And how much more of it went on in the past, throughout the world, in those halcyon days prior to human rights busy-bodies meddling in everybody’s affairs, to which the religious have such a desire to return? There were certainly ASPECTS of life in the 50s and 60s that were better than today, even from an objective perspective,but in so many ways the world is a much better place now. There is an amusing clip – I think in an episode of The World at War – of J B Priestley saying: “The British were at their best during the War. They were never as good before it, and” (he adds with a chuckle) “I don’t think they’ve been as good since.” However, crime was rampant in Britain during the war years, much of it never detected, and how much abuse went on in those days without redress (abuse of those like homosexuals and blacks being an accepted thing, of course)? John Christie was a member of the police during the war – despite convictions for violence and fraud – and it is now thought that he could well have murdered dozens of women without anyone even being aware of the crimes, which brings me to yet another point: Timothy Evans was hanged for Christie’s murder of his wife and daughter, in those days when “you could walk the streets in safety”, and the cases of Ruth Ellis and Derek Bentley caused outrage as well, leading to the abolition of the death penalty in Great Britain. (All three were prosecuted with great relish by Christmas Humphries – internationally renowned Buddhist, by the way.) Yes, the United Nations, International Criminal Court, Amnesty International et al, should just butt out of things that don’t concern them. Nice to see, though, that the UK is going to sign the 1954 UN Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property at last!

  7. Stuart H. says:

    Small irony in this. Christian and the Bounty mutineers were predominantly Manx – it’s said their legendary navigational skills developed from centuries of fishing in a foggy Irish Sea allowed them to find Pitcairn in the first place .

    The Manx government dragged their feet over civil partnerships and, like Northern Ireland, don’t want to ‘upgrade’ to allow same sex marriages. Only last week they also put a long promised Equality Bill on the back burner, so nothing will change until after the next elections in 2016. Ironic that a tiny island in the middle of nowhere can change without fuss, but the bigger one at centre of the British Isles whose residents settled it in the first place cannot find time to think about it.

  8. Michael Glass says:

    Good on you, Freethinker, for putting the kilometres before the miles in this article. Well done!

  9. dennis says:

    @Michael Glass, well, hell I did not notice Km or miles. just my quick read of numbers seemed wrong. thanks you Mr Glass and Free thinker for trying to help the states wake up to Km. I spent valuable time in my early school days converting this or that measure from 10’s base to 12 base and vise-versa. if we can finally (maybe) retire the confederate battle flag to history and museums can’t we stop selling and teaching 12″ rulers.

  10. Cali Ron says:

    America revolted against British rule, but we can’t seem to extricate ourselves from the lunacy of inches and feet, which the British abandoned a long time ago. What some like to call “western independence” is really just stubborn ignorance, “my daddy and his daddy measured in inches and by god, I’m goin’ to, too”. As for the flag of the losers of the civil war, it was retired, but they brought it back during the civil rights movement in the sixties, just to be assholes to blacks. Sadly, America can’t seem to get over racism, which is still embraced by and entangled with religion. See link.

  11. Cali Ron says:

    Another link on racism and religion.

    Just more of the same hypocrisy from christianity, the religion of love and intolerance.

  12. barriejohn says:

    Cali Ron: I was shocked to see on the news that the Confederate flag still flies in southern states, and I don’t believe for one minute that they can’t see what is wrong with that!

    Also, weren’t you taught by the fundamentalists that the (“Napoleonic”) Metric System is – wait for it – “of the devil” because it is based upon measurements of the earth, whereas Imperial Measurements are based upon man (thumb, hand, arm, and so on), who was created by God? Don’t even try to understand this distinction, as it always seemed quite barmy to me, but just take a look at this:

    Britain’s God-given Scientific Heritage Destroyed by Metrication Madness

    No permission was ever given for our Imperial Measures to be discarded like so much outdated rubbish. In fact what has been discarded is a God-given scientific heritage, a typical but tragic course of political action taken when our nation forgets God and His Divine instructions.

  13. Cali Ron says:

    barriejohn: God-given Scientific is an oxymoron if I’ve ever seen one. And yes, I was subjected to the metric system is evil rhetoric, too.

    Sadly, the confederate flag in South Carolina is a perfect example of how America has been going backwards for decades on race relations. When the flag was raised in the 60’s it was on the state house, but there was a public outcry so the compromise was to move it to a civil war memorial on the state house grounds (like somehow it’s less offensive in that spot than the other). It requires a 2/3 majority vote in both the house and senate of the state to remove it and since so many of their pols are southern conservatives (translation=racists) it probably will stay. In fact, it’s permanently mounted to the top of the pole so it can’t be lowered to half mast or removed without taking down the pole. I think someone should do to it what some Irishmen did to Admiral Nelson’s statue in Dublin.