[Updated with video] A petition calling on the Government to legalize same sex marriage was presented to Minister of Community, Culture & Sports Patricia Gordon Pamplin today [May 21], with the online petition having attained close to 2,500 signatures.
The petition was started by Tony Brannon last month, and called for the Bermuda Government to “Legalize Same Sex Marriage and implement a complete and full Human Rights for all Bermuda citizens & visitors.”
The petition said, “Same-sex couples want to marry for all the same reasons as their opposite-sex counterparts. These reasons include: for legal security, to publicly celebrate their commitment, to provide greater legal protection for their children, or simply because they are in love.”
Small slideshow of the petition being presented:
Commenting on the matter, Two Words and a Comma said, “As an activist group, Two Words and a Comma focused explicitly on having “sexual orientation” included in the Human Rights Act 1981 as a ground under which it is illegal to discriminate in employment, housing and the provision of public goods and services – in the same way that it has been illegal to discriminate in this way on the grounds of race, religion, sex, marital status and so on for many years.
“This objective was achieved in 2013, and now no-one [gay, straight or bisexual] can be fired, refused housing or denied a public service just because of their sexuality or what their perceived sexuality is in Bermuda. It doesn’t matter, and nor should it.
“Any act of discrimination that denies any resident of Bermuda the ability to achieve their full potential and to live their life as a full and complete member of our society, needs to be addressed.
“Promoting and achieving equality is a key component of a democratic society like Bermuda, and extending the scope of human rights and entrenching them further in law and in practice is thus not only something to be supported, but something to be celebrated in our society.
“Equal marriage rights for all residents of Bermuda, no matter their sexual orientation, is therefore something that Two Words and a Comma wholeheartedly supports.
“The ability for a couple to have their relationship legally recognised by the state, whether they are in a same-sex relationship or an opposite-sex one, is to be welcomed as a positive development that will benefit not only the individuals themselves, but their families, the economy, and our society as a whole.
“Along with equal marriage rights, we are mindful that there is also work to be done to extend the Human Rights Act 1981 to fully cover areas such as age-based discrimination in employment and mental disability, and we encourage and support each and every step furthering human rights so as to ensure we live in a fairer and more equitable society.”
Update: 7-minute video of the petition being presented:
Update 8.28pm: Responding to the petition today, Minister Gordon-Pamplin said, “Tony [Brannon], thank you very much for going through the process to be able to arrange the petition and to be as pedantic as you have been to ensure that I was available to receive the petition on behalf of all of those petitioners.
“Let me say that the one thing that I am very proud of, is that since coming into government, the One Bermuda Alliance has made mammoth strides towards ensuring that human rights protections have been expanded from that which we found when we first arrived in office.
“And I think it’s important to recognize and to understand that this government has not just an obligation, but also a desire to listen to those thoughts that are being advanced by all of the people of Bermuda, so that nobody feels as though they are on the outside.
“The process that will happen here is that having received this petition on behalf of the group, I will have it presented to my colleagues. Obviously there are things that need to be considered, there are legislative things that need to be looked at and the like, and as Tony indicated this is not something that will happen overnight.
“The one thing we do not want to do is to do something and find out that it’s not being well done. So it’s very important to give it not just the time that it deserves, but the consideration that it deserves in order to be able to consider what we have in front of us, and to determine how best to move forward.
“With delight I will be able to take this and give it to my colleagues, and we will have the necessary conversations, discussions and collaboration that will be required going forward. Thank you very much for the presentation and thank you everyone for coming,” the Minister added.