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gpolit.com April 26, 2018


Bermuda Abolishes Same-Sex Marriage, Keeps Domestic Partnership

09 February 2018, 02:06 | Rufus Hill

PoliticsBermuda Just Became the First Nation in the World to Repeal Same Sex Marriage Written by Daniel Villarreal

Bermuda gay marriage repeal

The move was signed into Bermudan law by the island's governor, John Rankin, when he approved a Bill reversing a court ruling a year ago authorising gay marriage.

'For @BorisJohnson to allow Bermuda's decision to repeal same sex marriage is a source of great shame, ' he said.

The change to the legislation came after a referendum in the country of 60,000, which found that the majority of Bermudians were opposed to same-sex marriage.

Walton Brown, the minister of home affairs, said the legislation signed by Governor John Rankin would balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.

'The Act is meant to strike a fair balance between two now irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, ' he continued.

"This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda's worldwide reputation and economy", Cobb said.

Now, couples in a registered domestic partnership will have equivalent rights to married heterosexual couples, including the right to take medical decisions on behalf of one's partner.

Activists expect opponents of same-sex marriage to take steps similar to Bermuda to undermine court rulings finding that bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional or unlawful. Also, any overseas same sex marriages taking place before and during the transitional period will also be capable of recognition as marriages in Bermuda. Brown added that same-sex marriages performed before the act was passed will not be annulled.

Same-sex marriage in Bermuda was outlawed yesterday after the Governor gave Royal Assent to an Act created to replace it with civil partnerships.

Global human rights groups said the new legislation contradicts part of Bermuda's constitution that guarantees freedom from discrimination. "Bermuda will continue to live up to its well-earned reputation as a friendly and welcoming place, where all visitors, including LGBT visitors, will continue to enjoy our beauty, our warm hospitality and inclusive culture".

In a debate in the Commons last month, Bryant called the bill a "deeply unpleasant and very cynical piece of legislation".

She said: "When it comes to the rights of British citizens there should be no such thing as a balancing-act".

Despite suggestions the UK Foreign Secretary would have a say over the repeal of the law, Boris Johnson appeared to have no involvement.

Joe Gibbons, a 64-year-old same-sex "married" Bermudian, commented, "This is not equality, and the British government has obviously just said, 'This is not our fight'".

Once approved in both the House [24-10] and Senate [8-3], the Bill went to the UK-appointed Governor for assent, which is normal procedure and generally seen as a formality, however it was been a topic of speculation in this case since the Bill was passed in December 2017.



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