Bermuda Abolishes Marriage Equality After Just Six Months

Bermuda Abolishes Marriage Equality After Just Six Months

Almost half a year after approving same-sex marriage, Bermuda will no longer allow couples to marry.

The House of Assembly, Parliament's lower house, voted 24-10 on Friday to pass the Domestic Partnership Act 2017, which would end marriage equality and create domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.

Bermuda's government, which legalized same-sex marriage six months ago, is working on a bill that will replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnership arrangements. Some who supported the bill, including Progressive Labour Party Backbencher (a member of Parliament who does not hold office in the government) Lawrence Scott said that the bill will only change the definition of marriage and give those couples benefits.

MP Lawrence Scott told the Royal Gazette that now gay couples "can have the name marriage but without the benefits..."

On the other side, Preserve Marriage, an anti-LGBTQ organization that, despite its name, wants to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples, lobbied against the bill, calling it "an introduction of a parallel form of marriage". "We are taking away marriage equality rights from the LGBTQ community".

"On the facts, the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage", wrote Judge Charles Etta-Simmons in his ruling. "The benefits are what they really want".

Shadow home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin spoke against the bill.

'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, ' she said.

Rod Attride-Stirling, a lawyer who worked on the landmark Supreme Court case said it was a clear case of the government removing people's rights.

Instead of protecting equality, he said, it was "stripping Bermuda's reputation naked for the world to see".

The decision has also been criticised by local human rights and LGBTI groups.

"We set we would repeal and replace but we can not satisfy everyone". This month, Bermuda's Parliament voted to ban gay marriage just months after the Supreme Court voted to allow them.

"The sky did not fall, nor did it fall when we attended the reception".

According to the Washington Blade, 60 percent of Bermudian voters were against any type of partnership for same sex couples in a non-binding referendum held in 2016.

It is not known how many gay couples have married in Bermuda since the first wedding in June.

Some same-sex couples have gotten married since that ruling, but the law would not invalidate their marriages.

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