Published: Sun, February 11, 2018

Bermuda reverses same-sex marriage legislation in world first

Bermuda reverses same-sex marriage legislation in world first

Governor John Rankin signed the Domestic Partnership Act into law Wednesday reversing the rights of same-sex partners to wed.

"It's a sad day for Bermuda, it's a sad day for human rights", Winston Godwin-DeRoche, who, along with his now-husband Greg, brought forward the legal challenge that resulted in the Bermuda Supreme Court legalizing marriage equality, told the publication.

Simmons ruled that the Registrar must "act in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act". But, the spokesman said, the bill "has been democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, and our relationship with the overseas territories is based on partnership and respect for their right to democratic self-government". Their marriage application had been rejected by Bermuda's Registrar-General.

Responding to the Governor's statement, Brown issued his own statement, saying "today, I am pleased to learn that (the Governor) has signed into assent the Domestic Partnership Act".

Currently LGBTQ couples can get married in 26 countries, with Australia and Malta making the practice legal in the past year.

Rankin said in an announcement that he had given his royal assent "after careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the constitution". It received this yesterday.

The Foreign Office was forced to explain why it had allowed a British overseas territory to make a decision that runs contrary to the United Kingdom position. "While the UK Government is disappointed with the implications of this bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda government acting within the terms of the Bermuda constitution and in accordance with worldwide law".

Following the move the Labour MP Chris Bryant secured an urgent question in the House of Commons to ask why the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, approved the move. It is believed Bermuda is the first country in the world to reverse marriage equality.

'@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.

"This is an utterly disgraceful piece of legislation, which turns same-sex couples into second-class citizens, just a year after they won their equality through the courts", Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry told PinkNews.

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

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said Bermuda's reversal was "shameful," noting it comes during a rise of anti-LGBTQ activism. Brown added that same-sex marriages performed before the act was passed will not be annulled.

Chris Bryant, a gay Labour MP who secured an urgent question in the House of Commons over Mr Johnson's lack of intervention, said countries with poor records on LGBT+ rights would in future "laugh" at any criticism by the United Kingdom government.

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