Culture&Arts

Bermuda Becomes First Country in the World to Repeal Same-Sex 'Marriage'

Bermuda Becomes First Country in the World to Repeal Same-Sex 'Marriage'

Critics say the move is an unprecedented rollback of civil rights that effectively gives homosexual couples second-class status.

"Governor Rankin and the Bermuda parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality", said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global.

Couples of the same gender had been allowed to tie the knot in the British Overseas Territory since May 2017.

However, the new act has been criticised by worldwide human rights groups.

The decision by Governor John Rankin in the wealthy Atlantic island of 60,000 people represents a rare reversal of a trend among Western countries of legalising same-sex marriage.

Voters on the island rejected samesex marriage in a referendum in 2016.

The new law denies marriage to same-sex couples, but gives both gay and heterosexual couples the right to enter into partnerships with certain legal rights previously held only by heterosexual married couples. "The intent of the Act is to provide domestic partners with the same benefits as married couples, including provision for pensions, inheritance, healthcare, tax and immigration".

"This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda's worldwide reputation and economy", Ty Cobb, director for Human Rights Campaign Global, told the New York Times.

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The issue has also been raised in the British parliament.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said that they were "disappointed" by Bermuda's decision, and a spokeswoman from the U.K.'s Foreign Office told the Washington Post that they had the same sentiment.

Ms Baldwin insisted British overseas territories were "separate, self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected representatives that have the right to self-government".

In a message on Twitter, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas said this stance was an "absolute scandal".

"While the majority of Bermudians do not agree with same-sex marriage, 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", the government announced online.

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Labour MP Chris Bryant told the Commons: "However the Government tries to dress this up, it is a backward step for human rights".

The prohibition will also mean that Bermuda-registered cruise ships won't be able to host same-sex weddings.


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