A significant victory for the LGBTQ+ community in Barbados, as the High Court struck down colonial-era laws criminalising gay sex.
Under the previous laws, those found guilty of consensual same-sex relations could face a life sentence, but such laws have not been enforced for some time.
This ruling makes Barbados the third Caribbean nation to make similar reforms this year, joining Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis.
Activists and members of the LGBTQ+ community who have fought for this change have welcomed the ruling as a step towards privacy and freedom.
Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (Ecade), a local advocacy group, hailed the ruling, stating it “consolidates the rights of all Barbadians to privacy and freedom of expression, and impacts LGBTQ+ people across the eastern Caribbean.”
The decision, made by Justice Michelle Weekes, concluded that two sections of the 1992 Sexual Offences Act were unconstitutional, meaning that charges for offences relating to consensual gay sex could no longer be maintained.
Michael Rapley, a member of the NGO Equals, said: “This is a step in the right direction for the protection of LGBTQ+ people in Barbados as we continue to ensure stigma-free access to services and positive inclusion in society.”
The ruling has been deemed a historical step towards protecting the human rights and dignity of LGBTQ+ people in Barbados.
Barbados has joined a growing number of countries moving towards equality, as at least 66 countries around the world still criminalise gay sex, according to Human Rights Watch.