Bermuda becomes first country to repeal same-sex marriage law

Howard TerryFeb 09, 2018

All of Bermuda's 60,000-strong population will be allowed to form domestic partnerships under the Domestic Partnership Act 2017, which its government says will offer equal rights.

In a historic move, Bermuda has become the first country in the world to first legalize same-sex marriage, and then revoke it. Same-sex marriage was initially legalized in the British island territory's Supreme Court in May 2017, and has been repealed less than a year later. While the act withdraws the entitlement for same-sex couples to marry, it replaces it with a provision for domestic partnerships.

The change to the legislation came after a referendum in the country of 60,000, which found that the majority of Bermudians were opposed to same-sex marriage.

Brown said that same-sex couples already married under Bermuda law will continue to be recognized as being married.

Bermuda is a British overseas territory and the foreign secretary had the power to block the legislation.

"It's a sad day for Bermuda, it's a sad day for human rights", Goodwin and DeRoche said.

The Standard reported, "Britain today voiced "regret" at Bermuda's decision to repeal legislation which let same-sex couples marry.The British overseas territory cast itself into isolation on this issue after becoming the first country in the world to turn its back on gay marriage".

The twitter reaction, however, was even more polarized with some voicing their approval of the government's decision, while others expressed support to the homosexual couples. However, the law permits same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships only ― not legal marriages.

"This is not equality", 64-year-old married gay Bermudian Joe Gibbons also said. "This is not equality, and the British Government has obviously just said, "This is not our fight".

The decision paved the way for same-sex marriage on the island and the first gay couple exchanged vows at the Registrar-Generals office less than a month later.

The government said the Domestic Partnership Act is "intended to strike a fair balance" between opposing parties on the conservative island.

The introduction of same-sex marriage past year put Bermuda among the most progressive countries in the region in terms of LGBT equality.

Rankin said, while gay couples can now only be registered as domestic partners, they will have all the rights bestowed to heterosexual couples including the right to make medical decisions on your partner's behest.

LGBTQ civil rights groups have argued domestic partnerships amount to a second-class status and say it's unprecedented for a jurisdiction to take away the legal right to marry after it has been approved.

The island came under the global spotlight over the controversy and it was branded the first country to outlaw same-sex marriage after it was backed by the courts.

'@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.

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