Britain urged to veto same-sex marriage ban in Bermuda

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda

The UK’s foreign ministers have been urged to intervene and veto Bermuda’s forthcoming ban on same-sex marriage.

The island nation and North Atlantic British Overseas Territory’s Supreme Court effectively legalised same-sex marriage earlier this year with a landmark ruling, after it deemed a ban on such a union a discriminatory violation of human rights.

However, last week the Bermuda Assembly voted to re-ban same-sex marriage just six months after the initial ruling.

Lawmakers have proposed a new bill where same-sex couples can enter into a domestic partnership instead.

It effectively offers the same rights as marriage between a man and a woman, but same-sex couples will not be able to perform it under the title of ‘marriage’.

British Governor John Rankin will have to sign the new bill before it will become official, but is being called upon to veto the decision.

Labour MP Chris Bryant said Bermuda “must uphold British values and principles.”

He added: “A British citizen, regardless of what part of Britain they’re from, should have the same rights.”

Winston Godwin, who is the gay Bermudian who won the original Supreme Court battle back in May has asked Rankin to use his position to stop the bill becoming law.

“In such a position we should always do what is right, not necessarily what’s easy,” Godwin said in a statement.

“This bill effectively states that you are a second-class citizen because of who you love, and creates increased division within an already very divided country and within a minority all at once.”

However, it seems like the British Government has no plans to intervene and veto the bill, despite the pleas.

“The UK Government is a proud supporter of LGBT rights and continues to support same-sex marriage,” a Foreign Office spokesperson said.

“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 international law.”

Bermuda, a collection of small North Atlantic islands with a population of 65,000, held a referendum on same-sex marriage last June which saw an overwhelming majority vote against changing the law.

69% voted against marriage equality, and only 31% voted in its favour, however only 46.89% of those registered on the electorate turned out to vote, which is below the 50% required to deem a question “answered”.

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