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In May 2017, the Supreme Court of Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage. Now, less than a year later, the island-nation’s Governor John Rankin just signed a Bermuda gay marriage repeal replacing same-sex marriages with “domestic partnerships” which can be entered into by both different-sex and same-sex couples. This makes Bermuda the second place in the world to repeal marriage equality, according to one source — California was the first.
The Bermuda Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage involved Bermuda resident Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche. The country’s Registrar-General denied the couple the right to marry, and in court, the couple’s lawyers argued that the denial violated Bermuda’s Human Rights Act, constituting an act of discrimination.
The Supreme Court agreed and ruled that all same-sex couples on the island could now be wed.
Despite its legalization of marriage equality, a majority of Bermudians voted against marriage equality in a non-binding June 2016 referendum. Brown pushed for The Domestic Partnership Act as a compromise between equality seekers and offended Christians.
In a statement released today, Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown, said, “The Domestic Partnership Act … gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; rights that were not guaranteed before the passage of this Act.”
All the same, Greg and Winston Godwin-DeRoche, the same-sex couple whose case helped legalized Bermuda marriage equality, have joined other LGBQT proponents and called today “a sad day for Bermuda.”
In a statement, Greg wrote, “As we all know, equality doesn’t happen overnight, it takes time, it takes brave individuals to stand up for what’s right regardless of what society says. Today is far from a loss and we can’t stop here.”
As we mentioned before, the Bermuda gay marriage repeal may have economic consequences for the island. Various cruise lines and tourism companies arranged marriage packages, and are now in the process of informing customers that their weddings will not be permitted by the government. Some governments and businesses may now also restrict business investments and travel to the island as a consequence for being the first country in the world to repeal marriage equality.
Featured image by SolStock via iStock