An Island With Only 48 Residents And No Gay Couples Just Legalized Same-Sex Marriage
Most of the inhabitants on the roughly two-mile Pitcairn Island are related.
Pitcairn Island, often considered the world's smallest inhabited territory due to its minuscule population of 48, just passed a law allowing same-sex marriage, even though it has no gay couples who want to wed.
The sunny island, a British Overseas Territory that was first settled in 1790, is just a dot in the expanse of the Pacific Ocean.
And they have some pretty great names for places around the island, seen below.
The new law was unanimously approved and actually went into effect on May 15, but the island's deputy governor, Kevin Lynch, said they were only able to get the news out recently because their website was having technical issues.
British authorities suggested the new law after last year's legalization of same-sex marriage by England, Wales, and Scotland.
But there haven't been any same-sex marriages, resident Merelda Warren told The Guardian, and she knows of no same-sex couples looking to wed. She said the island's only preacher is also a Seventh-Day Adventist, a religion that opposes gay marriage.
"It's not Pitcairn Islanders that were pushing for it," she said. "But it's like anything else in the world. It's happening everywhere else, so why not?"
"It shows how much the islanders value equality and inclusion," added Rodney Croome, national director of Australian Marriage Equality.
The inhabitants of the roughly two-mile rock are mostly related, and are descendants of 18-century mutineers from the Bounty, a British navy ship, and the Tahitians who were with them.
The event, which eventually led to the island having just one man, nine women, and a handful of children by 1800, has been made into numerous books and films, including the 1984 film The Bounty starring Mel Gibson.
Over the last decade, Pitcairn Island has had trouble moving past a sexual assault scandal that rocked the small community in 2004, and faces possible extinction.
At the time, six of the male inhabitants, including the mayor, were convicted of sexual assault of young girls that had been going on for 40 years. Three others who had relocated to New Zealand were also found guilty.
Now the government is so desperate for new inhabitants they offer a free plot of land to anyone who will relocate to the island. As of February, just one person had taken them up on the offer.
"It is a special place and it is beautiful seeing the stars without light pollution," said spokesperson Jacqui Christian. "There are the bluest waters you have ever seen."