Bermuda Abolishes Same-Sex Marriage, Keeps Domestic Partnership

Bermuda

Less than a year after same-sex marriages were legalized in Bermuda, the governor of the British island territory signed a bill into law on Wednesday that replaced it with domestic partnerships.

"The act is meant to strike a fair balance between two now irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples", Brown said. The decision to scrap the law came after Bermuda's Senate and House of Assembly passed the bill in December, which followed a referendum where the majority of voters opposed same-sex marriages.

He added it was the Governments belief that “this Act addresses this position while also complying with the European courts by ensuring that recognition and protection for same-sex couples are put in place”.

Brown said in his statement that the domestic partnership law attempted to "strike a fair balance" between same-sex marriage opponent and proponents on the island.

LGBT activists said the domestic partnership amounted to a second-class status for same-sex couples.

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, issued this statement: "As the world faces a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ activism, Bermuda just earned the shameful recognition of becoming the first national territory to strip away marriage from loving and committed LGBTQ couples".

As reported by local news outlet Bernews, Rankin stated that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples under the new law, which include the right to make medical decisions for one's partner.

Same-sex unions was legalised in May 2017 after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a couple who sued for marriage rights.


But he said it would not have been right for Britain to block the move.

The Bermuda Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage involved Bermuda resident Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche.

The disappointing decision comes less than a year after same-sex marriage was legalised in the North Atlantic British Overseas Territory.

In a debate in the UK's House of Commons last month, Labour's Chris Bryant called the bill a "deeply unpleasant and very cynical piece of legislation".

'@RhonddaBryant asks how FCO ministers will feel when trying to convince Russian Federation or Pakistan to respect LGBT rights and they just end up "laughing" at Britain.

The junior foreign office minister, Harriet Baldwin, noted that the United Kingdom government was "obviously disappointed" with the reversal but insisted the Bermuda government passed the law through legal means: British territories, including Bermuda, are "separate, self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected representatives that have the right to self-government".

"I feel enormously disappointed", 64-year-old married gay Bermudian Joe Gibbons told The Telegraph.

The UK's lack of intervention has also been met with disappointment. "While the UK Government is disappointed with the implications of this bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda government acting within the terms of the Bermuda constitution and in accordance with global law".

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