Just months after same-sex marriage was legalised in Bermuda, new legislation has been passed reversing marriage equality, making Bermuda the first jurisdiction globally to have marriage equality rescinded.
The new legislation which will effectively put a halt to future same-sex marriages will allow those couples who have married within the last six months to stay married however future same-sex relationships will only be registered as domestic partnerships.
The law change comes just six months after the original progressive legislation, which was initially approved in May 2017 after the Bermuda Supreme Court ruled that not allowing same-sex couples to marry would be discriminatory and in contrast to the country’s Human Rights Act.
Lawmakers argued that the new bill will grant gay and lesbian couples the same rights as married couples while preserving the traditional definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman.
Shadow Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, has rejected the bill arguing that the process has enabled the government to “give a community something only to take it away.”
“I don’t like to accept that it is OK for us to treat our sisters and brothers differently, whether fair or unfair, to treat them differently under similar circumstances,” Gordon-Pamplin added.
The legislation must still be passed by the Senate and be signed into law by the island’s governor before it takes effect.
Both Bermuda’s Human Rights Commission and LGBTQ+ group Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda (RAoB) slammed the move as a “watered down” version of human rights, leading to a separate but equal status under the law.
“Members of Bermuda’s LGBTQ+ community are entitled to the same rights and protections given to all citizens in Bermuda, including having their loving, committed relationships recognised both locally and internationally,” RAoB explain.
In June last year, 51% of Bermudians who voted in a referendum came out against legalising both same-sex unions and marriages. However, because only 46.89% of registered voters took part in the poll, the results were declared unworthy and deemed invalid.
Last Updated on Dec 18, 2017