Tag Archives: Bermuda

Bermuda High Court REVERSES Gay Marriage. Now Illegal.

Bermuda High Court REVERSES Gay Marriage. Now Illegal.

Backstory: In 2017, the Supreme Court of Bermuda declared that same-sex couples had a legal right to marry in the territory after a couple filed suit against the Bermudian Government. However, a bill to ban same-sex marriage and establish domestic partnerships was passed by the Parliament in December 2017 and went into effect on 1 June 2018 though same-sex marriages performed before that day remained legally recognized.

Two legal challenges were filed opposing the domestic partnership law. On 6 June 2018, the Supreme Court struck down the parts of the domestic partnership law that banned same-sex marriages but stayed the ruling while the government appealed to the Court of Appeal. It upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry when it handed down its ruling on 23 November 2018. On 14 March 2022 the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled against the Court of Appeal, banning same-sex marriage once again which ruled 4-1.

The only dissenting opinion came from Lord Sales, who wrote that the right to marry was implicit in the constitution and cannot be interpreted as limited to heterosexual couples. He argued that the Bermuda government’s refusal to recognize same-sex marriage “interferes with the ability of same-sex couples to act in accordance with their conscience and breaches the state’s duty of neutrality between different conscientious or religious beliefs.”

In 2019, before the beginning of the COVID pandemic Bermuda’s internal travel and tourism consumption amounted to 990 million U.S. dollars, and  cruises from the U.S. go to Bermuda, almost 200 port calls per year.

We should really do something to change that.

Bermuda Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

BOOYAH! – Bermuda Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

Bermuda Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

The Bermuda Supreme Court ruled that a previous law rescinding marriage rights to same-sex couples was unconstitutional on Wednesday, according to Bermuda’s The Royal Gazette.

 The court upheld a challenge to the Domestic Partnership Act because it was “inconsistent with provisions in the Constitution which give the right to freedom of conscience and creed,” according to Chief Justice Ian Kawaley’s judgement. This comes after Parliament passed the Act in December, essentially reversing the court’s view on same-sex marriage and becoming the first country to roll back same-sex-marriage.

A campaign partially funded by Carnival Cruise Lines, and boycott’s of the country by LGBT tourist joined the effort to challenge the law, and the ruling is seen as a win for Bermuda’s weakened tourism industry.

Bermuda Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Marriage Ban

Ellen DeGeneres and Howard Dean Urge Americans to Boycott Bermuda for Re-Banning Gay Marriage

Both Ellen DeGeneres and Howard Dean have joined this website and others in urging everyone, LGBT’s and straight allies alike, to  Boycott Bermuda.   On Thursday Ellen Tweeted “Bermuda just banned marriage equality. I guess I’m canceling my trip. Anybody else?”

Last month we reported that Bermuda’s governor has signed into law a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage.

Said Brown: ‘The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.’ 

Channel News Asia is reporting that lawyer Mark Pettingill is representing Roderick Ferguson, a Bermudian who lives in the United States. Ferguson aims to render the Domestic Partnership Act void for contradicting Bermuda’s constitution, which guarantees freedom from discrimination.

Even former US presidential candidate Howard Dean is urging Americans to “find another vacation spot” after Parliament voted for the Domestic Partnerships Act, 

Mr Dean, who is also a former six-term Governor of Vermont and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted “Progressive Labor Party in Bermuda just eliminated gay marriage. Americans who really are progressive should find another vacation spot.”

Tourism accounts for a significant portion of Bermuda’s economy: The 693,000 tourists the island hosted in 2017 spent a combined $431 million, local news outlet the Royal Gazette reported. Cruise spending in particular rose by 7.6 percent last year.

 

#BoycottBermuda – Bermuda Repeals Same Sex Marriage Law

The tourist friendly country of Bermuda has become the first ever country to repeal same-sex marriage.

Bermuda’s governor has signed into law a bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage.

Walton Brown, Bermuda’s minister of home affairs, said the legislation signed by Governor John Rankin would balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.

Bermuda’s Senate and House of Assembly passed the legislation by wide margins in December and a majority of voters opposed same-sex marriage in a referendum.

The Associated Press reports:

‘The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples,’ Brown said.”

The British government could have blocked the territory from enacting the law, the BBC reports, but chose not to. Foreign Minister Harriet Baldwin said that blocking legislation should only happen in “exceptional circumstances,” the British broadcaster reports:

“I feel enormously disappointed,” said Joe Gibbons, a 64-year-old married gay Bermudian. “This is not equality, and the British government has obviously just said, ‘This is not our fight.’”

Human rights groups had lobbied Governor Rankin and the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, to deviate from standard practice in self-governing UK territories and withhold assent for the change. They argued that the new legislation contradicted Bermuda’s constitution, which guarantees freedom from discrimination.

In a debate in the UK’s House of Commons last month, the Labour MP Chris Bryant called the bill a “deeply unpleasant and very cynical piece of legislation”. After the repeal was confirmed, Bryant tweeted that it would “undermine [the] UK effort to advance LGBT rights”.

An estimated 584,000 tourists visit Bermuda a year and that money accounts for an estimated 28% of gross domestic product

Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian Cruise Lines all host LGBT Cruises to Bermuda.

Bermuda Unveils Law That Replaces Same Sex Marriage With Domestic Partnerships

 

The Bermuda Government has introduced legislation that would not allow same-sex marriages any longer and would replace them with a domestic partnership arrangement.

The new Progressive Labour Party draft Bill comes six months after a Supreme Court ruling paved the way for same-sex couples to marry in Bermuda. Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé, Greg DeRoche (pictured above), embarked on their fight for equal rights after the Registrar-General rejected their application to marry.

The government statement added: “The Bill will essentially replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

“It should be noted that all same-sex couples who are already married will not have this designation taken away from them.”

Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, said he was seeking the public’s feedback on the draft Domestic Partnership Bill.

“This topic has been a prolonged matter of great division in our country,” Mr Brown said.

“The purpose of this public consultation period is to gain feedback from the public on the current draft Bill regarding domestic partnerships and answer any questions that anyone might have. Stakeholder groups have already been informed as we seek to move forward in a collaborative way. “It should be noted that all same-sex couples who are already married will not have this designation taken away from them.”

The draft Bill will be posted on the Government website gov.bm for the public to view as well as on the Government’s Facebook Page

Members of the public can send comments and questions to domesticpartnership@gov.bm

There will be a two week public consultation period, which began yesterday and will end on November 15th.

Homosexuality is legal in Bermuda, but the country has long held a reputation for being anti-gay. It is illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in Bermuda, but not on the basis of gender identity.

Ironically, Bermuda has actually been the host of gay tourism for many years. The LGBT travel company Pied Piper, for example, has been organizing trips there since 1990.