Bermuda Is the First Country to Legalize and Repeal Same-Sex Marriage

Bermuda’s South Shore as seen from the Wyndham Hotel

Gov. John Rankin today signed a bill into law replacing marriage rights for same-sex couples with domestic partnerships in the archipelago, a self-governing British national territory in the Atlantic Ocean.

" '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 recognizing 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.

Walton Brown, the minister of home affairs, said the legislation would offer balance on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples previously married under Bermuda law will continue to be recognized as being married and overseas same-sex marriages taking place before and during the transitional period will be recognized as marriages in Bermuda, Rankin said.

LGBTQ civil rights groups view domestic partnerships as a second-class status.

"This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda's worldwide reputation and economy", said Cobb.

The British territory, which only legalised gay marriage in May 2017 thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, has seen six same-sex weddings in the eight months leading to now.

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

Another effect of this, Bryant said, was that Cunard and P&O ships registered in Bermuda could no longer hold same-sex marriages at sea. "Bermuda will continue to live up to its well-earned reputation as a friendly and welcoming place, where all visitors, including LGBT visitors, will continue to enjoy our beauty, our warm hospitality and inclusive culture".

However Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin told the Commons on Thursday that while the government was "disappointed" with Bermuda's decision, Johnson had decided it "wouldn't be appropriate" to intervene.

'@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.

That sparked an outcry from some British MPs who said that assent on the grounds that the legislation breaches Bermuda's constitution and the 1981 Human Rights Act guaranteeing equal treatment for all.

Joe Gibbons, a 64-year-old same-sex "married" Bermudian, commented, "This is not equality, and the British government has obviously just said, 'This is not our fight'".

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