Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda

The North Atlantic British Overseas Territory are set to abolish same-sex marriage on 12 May, the same day as the ‘Gay World Cup’. 

Bermuda have set a date for their ban on same-sex marriage, and it happens to fall on the same day as an event that is widely celebrated by the LGBTQ community.

Walton Brown – Minister of Home Affairs – said: “The Registry General will continue to accept applications for same-sex marriages until May 12, 2018. Any application submitted by a same-sex couple after that date must be for a domestic partnership under the act, not a marriage under the Marriage Act 1944 or the Maritime Marriage Act 1999.

“The Registrar certificate for marriage, issued by the Registrar-General, under either of these Acts on or before May 12, 2018, will be treated as a licensed for domestic partnership if the couple do not marry on or before May 31, 2018.”

That date is the same day as the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, which is often referred to as the ‘Gay World Cup’. Coincidence? We think not.

Back in February, Bermuda became the first country in the world to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage.

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

Governor John Rankin signed a bill replacing the legislation with The Domestic Partnership Act, which will allow gay and straight couples to form domestic partnerships in the government’s attempt at offering “equal rights”.

Same-sex couples who wed since last May will not have their marriage annulled.

Brown said the ruling aims to balance opposition to same-sex marriage with European court rulings, ensuring recognition and protection for same sex-couples on the socially conservative island.

“The Domestic Partnership Act permits any couple (heterosexual or homosexual) to enter into a domestic partnership and gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; rights that were not guaranteed before the passage of this Act,” said Brown.

“The rights now guaranteed under the Domestic Partnership Act include: the right to inherit in the case of no will, the right to a partner’s pension(s), access to property rights, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner and the right to live and work in Bermuda as the domestic partner of a Bermudian.

 “While the majority of Bermudians do not agree with same-sex marriage — as evidenced by the referendum — it is the Government’s belief that this Act addresses this position while also complying with the European Courts by ensuring that recognition and protection for same sex couples are put in place.

“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 recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.”

The ruling was met with widespread backlash from international human rights groups, who claim the decision contradicts Bermuda’s constitution of protecting its citizens from discrimination.

 Ty Cobb – director of Human Rights Campaign Global – said: “Governor Rankin and the Bermuda parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality.

“This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardises Bermuda’s international reputation and economy.”

Labor MP Chris Bryant labelled the bill a “deeply unpleasant and very cynical piece of legislation.” He also tweeted: “So Boris Johnson has granted permission to Bermuda to abolish same sex marriage. This totally undermines UK effort to advance LGBT rights.”