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Bermuda Seeking To Retract Same-Sex Marriage

Caribbean island Bermuda is voting to re-ban same-sex marriage after voting ‘yes’ earlier this year…
 
Earlier this year, Bermuda joined the vast wave of nations in taking a progressive step forward by legalizing same-sex marriage. Now it seems the tropical Caribbean island is seeking to make history in becoming the first nation to re-abolish same-sex marriage.
 
On Friday, Bermuda’s House of Assembly approved 24 votes, with 10 against, to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships. While the Domestic Partnership Act of 2017 (DPA) is waiting to be passed by the island’s 11-member Senate and for a signature from the Governor, critics from Bermudan groups and politicians from overseas have been quite vocal about the issue.
 
Members of the current-ruling Progressive Labor Party (PLP) introduced the DPA, claiming it will preserve the traditional definition of marriage, while offering the LGBTQ the benefits they want. Party member Lawrence Scott also stated “As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this Bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want.”
 
The DPA will not affect the legal status of marriages that occurred since the passing of the law in May of 2017.
 
Jordan Sousa of Bermuda’s Gay Straight Alliance said the act is a national embarrassment, adding that it is “turning Bermuda, who bills itself as a 21st century place to do business, into a theocracy.”
 
Rod Attride-Stirling, one of the lawyers who worked to pass the same-sex marriage earlier this year, has called the DPA “foolish and oppressive.” He adds that the mere fact that no other country has retracted same-sex marriage laws should cause Bermuda to reconsider its stance.
 
“There is lawful same-sex marriage in Bermuda and there have been several marriages now, so the Government is taking away a right that exists. If the Supreme Court had not already ruled on this, then the position would be very different,” said Attride-Stirling.
 
The Human Rights Commission of Bermuda has also criticised the Domestic Partnership Act, stating it is the removal of rights for gay couples.
 
If the DPA is passed, this can also affect Bermuda’s tourism industry, as several cruise ships began offering same-sex marriage ceremonies on board since ruling in favour earlier this year. Many Bermudans also feel the DPA will taint the Caribbean island’s reputation as a tourist destination.
 
The head of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, Kevin Dallas, said the island was committed to offering “warm and welcoming experiences for all visitors.”
 

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