Bermuda bans same-sex marriage, allows domestic partnerships instead

Bermuda Repeals Marriage Equality, Offers Domestic Partnerships Instead

Bermuda Repeals Marriage Equality, Offers Domestic Partnerships Instead

Bermuda's decision to become the first nation to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriages has been met with calls to boycott the country.

The British territory is believed to be the first jurisdiction in the world to reverse course on same-sex marriage after permitting it, The Guardian writes.

About a half dozen existing same-sex marriages in Bermuda, which took place between the Supreme Court ruling in May 2017 and the repeal, will continue to be recognised under the new law.

The governor of the British island territory has signed into law a bill that replaces same-sex marriages with domestic partnerships.

She said: “Clause 50 states that where the words specified in the table, which include marriage, spouse, husband, wife, widow and widower, are mentioned throughout Bermuda legislation, these are to be read in the case of a person in a domestic partnership as the corresponding word specified, that is domestic partnership, domestic partner or surviving domestic partner.

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He added: “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 recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.”.

About 63,000 people live in Bermuda, according to the island's government. She said: "When it comes to the rights of British citizens there should be no such thing as a balancing act".

'FCO minister Harriet Baldwin admits the United Kingdom "disagrees with this direction of travel" and wants to "express our disappointment" at Bermuda decision to repeal same-sex marriage.

"But that Bill has been democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, and our relationship with the overseas territories is based on partnership and respect for their right to democratic self-government".

Human Rights Campaign - which works to improve the lives of LGBTQ people worldwide - has condemned the move as "shameful".

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"This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardises Bermuda's global reputation and economy".

Following the Governor's assent, Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said, "With the introduction of the Domestic Partnership Act, Bermuda - an associate member of CARICOM - will be amongst the first English-speaking Caribbean islands to introduce and pass a law that provides legal recognition to same-sex couples".

"While the majority of Bermudians do not agree with same-sex marriage - as evidenced by the referendum - it is the government's 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. Germany also voted to legalize gay marriage in June.

They further hold that the domestic partnerships amount to a second-class status and it is complete discrimination to take away the legal right to marry after it has been granted.

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