Devastating news that Legislation to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships was passed in the House of Assembly ergo repeal and replacing same-sex marriage.

This bill will define marriage in name, between a man and a woman but allow same-sex couples to have those benefits without the name, stripping already married same-sex couples of their marriages with it.

Activists and campaigners are angry at this bill and the courts ruling being redefined to strip already married couples from marriage.

The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 was passed following a five-hour debate after a vote in which 24 MPs supported the Bill be reported to the House, while ten opposed it.

The Home affairs minister Walton Brown, who introduced the Bill, said it would provide same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevent any further same-sex marriages.

Repeal

Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche

He also confirmed that the legislation would not have a retroactive affect on same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court ruling in the Godwin and DeRoche case against the Registrar-General.

In that case, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the Registrar-General could not reject a gay couple’s application to marry in Bermuda and that the common law definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was “inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation”.

During yesterday’s debate, PLP backbencher Lawrence Scott said the Bill brought balance and gave “the LGBTQ community the benefits it has been asking for” while keeping the “the traditional definition of marriage”.

He said: “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.”

However, shadow home affairs minister said she could not support the Bill “having given a community something only to take it away”.

Much was mirrored by the MP’s and lawmakers against the bill, “Bermuda will be seen as a laughing stock” an activist says “while the world moves forward passing legislation for equal marriage those will look at us as the only country to allow it then take it away”

Luxury Cruise liners like Cunard are also dismayed, after spending on marketing aimed directly at the same-sex couples market this will prevent those who pay for weddings held on the island unable to go forward.

The Bermuda Senate will now consider the Domestic Partnership Act, which will become law if Gov. John Rankin signs it. His government would become the first in the world to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples if the measure takes effect.