Bermuda Becomes First Country to Repeal Same-Sex Marriage

09 February, 2018, 07:05 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Mark Blinch  Reuters

The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 - which ends marriage equality and instead allows only domestic partnerships for same-sex couples - has since been approved by Bermuda's Governor John Rankin, ending weeks of speculation over whether he would sign the legislation.

The new civil partnership law met European human rights standards, Baldwin said, telling MPs that ministers had limited powers over Britishoverseas territories, which were "separate, self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected representatives that have the right to self-government".

The Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality in May 2017 was celebrated by the small gay community, but it also outraged many on the socially conservative island, including church leaders, and thousands protested outside parliament.

"This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda's worldwide reputation and economy", Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global said in a statement, according to the Post.

Labour's Chris Bryant told MPs that Russian Federation would in future "laugh" at the British government whenever it criticised Moscow for its track record on LGBT rights.

She said that after "full and careful consideration" of Bermuda's constitutional and global obligations, Johnson had decided that it would "not be appropriate" to block the legislation, something she said only took place in exceptional circumstances.

The Government said it was "seriously disappointed" by the British Overseas Territory's move, but insisted the Foreign Secretary could only act in "exceptional circumstances" - a test it believes the legislation failed to meet. Across the United Kingdom, civil partnerships, which were originally introduced in 2004 to offer similar rights to same-sex couples, are being reevaluated-the government is discussing whether to open these partnerships up to straight couples or repeal altogether.

Helen Goodman, Shadow Foreign Office minister, said Mr Johnson had made Britain "complicit" in Bermuda's repeal of the marriage equality law.

Boris Johnson
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. Oli Scarff Getty Images

He denounced the move as a "backwards step for human rights in Bermuda and in the overseas territories".

Bermuda has become the first national territory in the world to rollback same-sex marriage.

It noted that the Bermuda Tourism Authority had warned lawmakers about the repeal and said it may affect those coming to the Atlantic island, referencing the economic impact on North Carolina after it passed a "transgender bathroom bill".

The Human Rights Campaign blasted Gov. Rankin's decision to acquiesce to anti-LGBTQ forces.

P&O Cruises has been forced to scrap onboard same-sex weddings, after the abolition of equal marriage in Bermuda.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights groups said granting only the option of registered domestic partnership to same-sex couples equates to deeming them as second class citizens.

Bermuda's Supreme Court ruled last May that same-sex couples had the right to marry, and they began doing so soon afterward.

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