Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Global Media | By Garry Long

Bermuda becomes the first country to repeal same-sex marriage

Bermuda becomes the first country to repeal same-sex marriage

Global human rights groups such as the LGBT-focused Human Rights Campaign had condemned the move, which it said "unconscionably ripped away the right of loving same-sex couples in Bermuda to marry".

Same-sex unions was legalised in May 2017 after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of a couple who sued for marriage rights.

"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".

Same-sex couples who married before the bill was revoked will not have their marital status annulled.

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

Gay couples will now have the option only of a registered domestic partnership.

'The Act is meant to strike a fair balance between two now irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, ' he continued.

"Same-sex couples already married under Bermuda law before the commencement date of this Act will continue to be recognized as being married".

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That move by the wealthy Atlantic island of 60,000 people represents a rare reversal of a trend among Western countries of legalizing same-sex marriage.

"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", Brown stated.

She said: "After full and careful consideration in regard to Bermuda's constitutional and worldwide obligations, the secretary of state decided that in these circumstances it would not be appropriate to use this power to block legislation, which can only be used where there is a legal or constitutional basis for doing so, and even only in exceptional circumstances".

Bermuda has repealed gay marriage after it was briefly legal on the island. "This totally undermines United Kingdom effort to advance LGBT rights".

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'".

In a statement, Greg wrote, "As we all know, equality doesn't happen overnight, it takes time, it takes fearless individuals to stand up for what's right regardless of what society says".

"It is a shame that the leadership required by the government to champion equality is still missing", Kenita Placide, the Caribbean adviser of LGBT charity OutRight International, told IBTimes UK.

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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