Bermuda becomes first national territory in world to repeal marriage equality


It's the first known nation to take such an action. By Trudy Ring February 07 2018 7:30 PM EST

Bermuda has become the first country in the world to legalise and then repeal the same-sex marriage.

"Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said the legislation signed by Gov. John Rankin seeks to balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition of and protection for same-sex couples in the territory".

The British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean has approved a bill reversing the right of same-sex couples to marry, in a move critics are calling a rollback of civil rights.

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.

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.

For instance, Director of Human Rights Campaign Global Ty Cobb blasted the country's political leadership for the decision.

Rankin said, while gay couples can now only be registered as domestic partners, they will have all the rights bestowed to heterosexual couples including the right to make medical decisions on your partner's behest.

Despite a Supreme Court ruling past year authorizing same-sex marriages, Bermuda's governor approved a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry.

"The Domestic Partnership Act permits any couple (heterosexual or homosexual) to enter into a domestic partnership and gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; rights that were not guaranteed before the passage of this Act", the statement continued. 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.

At a time when the legalisation of same-sex marriage is gathering steam around the world, Bermuda's decision has been heavily cirticised by LGBT campaigners.

In a debate in the Commons last month, Bryant called the bill a "deeply unpleasant and very cynical piece of legislation". "Despite this deplorable action, the fight for marriage equality in Bermuda will continue until the day when every Bermudian is afforded the right to marry the person they love". A 64-year-old married gay Bermudian Joe Gibbons shared his distress to a leading journal The Guardian.

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

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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