‘Express Opinions On Marriage Via Referendum’

February 29, 2016

[Updated with video] “It is the intention of the Government to table a referendum bill on the matter later in this legislative session” so that the “people of this country can express their opinions on same-sex marriage and civil unions via a referendum,” Premier Michael Dunkley announced today.

Premier Dunkley said, “This Government believes in upholding fundamental and basic human rights. As such, Government has an obligation to bring the matter of same-sex unions to a resolution.

“And in order to get the widest possible reach of views from the people it is the intention of this Government to table a Referendum Bill on the matter later in this legislative session.

“We are committed to extending the consultative process so that the people of this Country can express their opinions on same-sex marriage and civil unions via a Referendum,” the Premier added.

“As a final and important point, this Government is of the view that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, which is why we tabled in the House the Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 to strengthen the Act.”

The press conference has just concluded, and we will update as able with the full text and video, and in the meantime the live stream replay is below.

Update: Lower quality live stream replay removed and better video added

Update 12.31pm: The Premier’s full statement is below:

Good morning and thank you for joining me.

As you’re aware this morning, the Minister of Community, Culture and Sport, the Hon. Patricia Gordon-Pamplin tabled the draft Civil Union Bill 2016 for Consultation in the House of Assembly.

The aim of tabling the draft legislation is so that we can have the widest possible discussion and consultation on this matter, not just with our Parliamentary colleagues on both sides of the aisle, but with the broader public.

You also heard the Minister highlight that the issue of same-sex marriage and civil unions is at the forefront of our national conversation because today the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Bermuda Bred Company vs Minister of Home Affairs and Attorney General takes effect.

The landmark ruling means that the non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians, who are in permanent relationships, are entitled to live and work in Bermuda free of immigration control.

I think it’s very important to mention that prior to the Supreme Court ruling, Government has sought to do its due diligence to review and assess the issue of same sex unions by engaging in a very intensive consultative process. This included:

  • - A series of public information sessions;
  • - The sharing of extensive research with the public on how other jurisdictions have sought to approach and reconcile this matter;
  • - Outlining Bermuda’s international legal responsibility;
  • - The proposed way that the Bermuda Government could implement and manage civil unions;
  • - Meeting with advocacy groups and individuals for and against same-sex marriage and civil unions, all with the aim of listening to all sectors of the community on this very sensitive matter.

And my colleagues and I have been tremendously appreciative with all the feedback we have received. That said, as directed by the Supreme Court ruling, the Government is required to recognize same sex couples in a permanent relationship. This Government believes in upholding fundamental and basic human rights.

As such Government has an obligation to bring the matter of same-sex unions to a resolution. And in order to get the widest possible reach of views from the people it is the intention of this Government to table a Referendum Bill on the matter later in this legislative session.

What has been made evidently clear through this entire process is that there are varying views on the issue of same-sex marriage and civil unions – in Parliament and throughout our community.

Recognising that this is a very complex and difficult issue for many in our community we are committed to extending the consultative process so that the people of this Country can express their opinions on same-sex marriage and civil unions via a Referendum.

As a final and important point, this Government is of the view that marriage is a union between a man and a woman, which is why we tabled in the House the Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 to strengthen the Act.

As I close, I recognize that there is incredible passion and emotion about same-sex unions. I want to personally say that there has been considerable soul-searching and reflection regarding this issue.

And I want to thank each and every person who has called, written or stopped me or my colleagues in the street to share their feelings about this matter. Thank you for sharing your stories, your views and your heartfelt experiences.

As a Government we have tried to approach this issue with sincerity, compassion, empathy and sensitivity.

Government has a responsibility to make the best decisions for the benefit and betterment of this Country and its people and we must continue to seek and incorporate as much feedback and input from the public as possible.

Thank you.

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  1. Noncents says:

    Spineless OBA. The rights of a minority should never be decided by the majority.

    • OBA thank you says:

      Oh stick some tape on your mouth NONcents. What’s your alternative!!!! Vote for the PLP after what they did for 14 years.

      Premier Michael Dunkley don’t stop there include pathways to Status initiative and descriminalizing marijuana in small amounts in the same referendum bill. Kill three birds with 1 stone and let the voters decide.

      KEEP
      CALM
      and
      CARRY
      ON OBA.

      • Mike Hind says:

        It’s ok to criticize the OBA without supporting the PLP.

        This sort of partisanship and blind loyalty is what got us into this mess in the first place!

        “What’s [the] alternative?”

        Demanding that the Government of the day do better than this sort of thing.
        That’s the alternative.

        • LOL says:

          Mike you will vote OBA either way. I can see you as the first man in line.

          • Mike Hind says:

            That’s because you have no idea what you are talking about and are an ignorant, biased, ridiculous, partisan clown.

            But you keep taking potshots while hiding like a coward behind a pen name.
            Real brave.

      • Family Man says:

        Can’t bring myself to void for either party so I’ll be spoiling my ballot next year – unless Alfred E. Neuman want to run.

        • Lois Frederick says:

          While I disagree with this announced route, I fully understand why they are doing it. No, it doesn’t directly affect me, but I still want everyone to be treated equally and be accepted as they are by society.

          • lalalalala says:

            This whole thing is pointless and a waste of money… as soon as the pending case before the court is completed and the court rules that the act is in contravention of the Human Rights Act we will see same sex marriage become legal.

            • F!@#ing nasty European habits.

              • Mike Hind says:

                You keep posting this hateful, bigoted bile.

                Don’t you get sick of being wrong?

              • Pete says:

                ONION JUICE
                Pleas study the History of Mankind. Same Sex habits are universal Everywhere in the World
                Stop being Blind and in denial.

      • Noncents says:

        @ OBA thank you,

        to be clear- criticizing the OBA is not, by default, a message of support for the PLP. I voted OBA and will most likely continue until a viable alternative emerges.

        On this issue, I think the OBA were provided a real opportunity to get on the right side of history, a chance that has now been squandered. I wish they would stop listening to the loudest voices in the room and start governing without fear of losing votes, votes that were, for the most part, never theirs in the first place.

        On several pressing issues, the OBA have shown a continued inability to make unpopular decisions. Just look to the size of our Civil Service if you need another example.

        • Dont forget Jet Gate, Harbor Front bogus Law, etc.

          • Come Correct says:

            So you have a problem with PRC’S getting status but no problem with a foreign company owning prime real estate for 200+ years? You are an ignoramoose.

          • Pete says:

            Why don`t you remember
            Berkley, Institute, TCD , Brown Court House, The Dock project at Dock yard, Atlantic Development, trying to frame Larry Dennis, go on, and on.

      • filobedo21 says:

        So you think this is a brave move by MIchael Dunkley and the OBA, nah, they are all spineless cowards, and they don’t even understand Human Rights. And as for adding the medical cannabis to the mix, nah. Spineless twits. Just outrageous they would diminish the human rights law. I’ll be voting YES on Gay Marriage.

    • OBA supporter says:

      I understand what the OBA is doing.

      A civil unions bill would have probably failed in the house of assembly right now. Time needs to be taken to have people see the bill and will not know what to expect from it.

      This will allow for people to form a rational opinion before they decide what they vote for.

      I support the OBA having a referendum on this, a referendum is simply a large poll, decisions will still have to be made after.

      • Mike Hind says:

        How can they have a rational opinion when one side does nothing but spread misinformation, logical fallacies and outright lies, refuses to actually debate the issue, shows not a shred of evidence to back up their claims, uses false and debunked studies and cases to support their position, refuses to address even the simplest of questions, contradicts themselves constantly, sometimes sentence to sentence, sometimes even in the same sentence!, posts threats of violence, and, basically, puts it’s fingers in it’s ears and says LA LA LA whenever someone tries to engage?

        Not once has a rational, reality-based, REAL argument been put forth for not legalizing SSM.
        Not once.

        Instead, we get the same false arguments and catch-phrases, then they disappear, only to pop up again, spreading the same lies.

        • Bermuda First says:

          Yes, correct. Please please SSM supporters stop with the drama. You summed up what i have been reading from SSM supporters. My sense is that the continued aggressive approach by SSM supporters is just an act of desperation since the 9100+ folks that signed the petition and many others far outnumber those that are interested in changing marriage into something it isn’t. Good luck on trying to change all fish to fly as well.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Stop with the drama?
            Are you even remotely kidding me?

            OH! You are an opponent with nothing real to say, so you’re trying to act like folks are just being “dramatic” when they speak out against inequality and injustice.

            It’s the dismissive tactic. Got it.

            Oh, and if you want to talk aggressive? Take a look at some of the posts coming from people on your side, threatening violence and “punishment” if this goes through, likening someone’s sexual orientation to bestiality, necrophilia and paedophilia or, worse, murderers!, calling them nasty, etc. etc.
            I notice you don’t speak out against that. Is it tacit agreement?

      • filobedo21 says:

        A decisionw will ahve to made after, oh yeah, they will be wishign and hoping for the watered down Civil Union, and they will breath a sigh of relief; and then the fun will begin, when further litigation begins. More Government funds wasted to defend the indefensible, because the issue is not going to go away.

    • This sounds Fuzzy, well its U.B.P.

    • LOL says:

      wait! then SSM proponents must stop using the national vote in Ireland as an example of a western country voting and passing SSM.

      better yet, why don’t you move to progressive Ireland where you would be happy?

    • Yahoo says:

      OBA doesn’t want to make a decision that may upset either side of the argument and cost them votes so they are taking the coward’s way out with a referendum. Gutless.

    • R.I.P Human Rights says:

      I agree,
      On one hand the Premiere has the gall to say,”This Government believes in upholding fundamental and basic human rights.”
      Then announces that, ” It is the intention of this Government to table a Referendum Bill on the matter later in this legislative session.”

      Which essentially goes against everything the Human Rights Act is there to Protect, Which is that the majority shouldn’t decide the Human rights of minorities.

      What if We used that logic to decide other minorities future?

      Shall we use it against the Uyghurs? How about Atheists? How about (insert any Minority group)?
      See the slippery slope we are creating, Last time I checked SSM marriage isn’t effecting regular marriage in any way.

      Nothing like using one rights to prevent someone else from getting theirs.

      To make thing easier going forth,why don’t we start a list of people Rights/Freedoms in order of Importance so it is clear to all of us?

      The time is well over due to separate Religion and Politics.Actually Time is well over due for the end of Political Parties.
      It causes more division than helping its People. A Country this small should be Governed by one Person per Constituency/Parish with No Parties that way every individual is accountable.

    • R.I.P Human Rights says:

      On one hand the Premiere has the gall to say,”This Government believes in upholding fundamental and basic human rights.”
      Then announces that, ” It is the intention of this Government to table a Referendum Bill on the matter later in this legislative session.”

      Which essentially goes against everything the Human Rights Act is there to Protect, Which is that the majority shouldn’t decide the Human rights of minorities.

      What if We used that logic to decide other minorities future?

      Shall we use it against the Uyghurs? How about Atheists? How about (insert any Minority group)?
      See the slippery slope we are creating, Last time I checked SSM marriage isn’t effecting regular marriage in any way.

      Nothing like using one rights to prevent someone else from getting theirs.

      To make thing easier going forth,why don’t we start a list of people Rights/Freedoms in order of Importance so it is clear to all of us?

      The time is well over due to separate Religion and Politics.Actually Time is well over due for the end of Political Parties.
      It causes more division than helping its People. A Country this small should be Governed by one Person per Constituency/Parish with No Parties that way every individual is accountable.

    • Its me again says:

      Since when?

  2. Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

    I am deeply disappointed and disgusted with the OBA Government at this moment.

    Why bother with a referendum when you’ve already made it clear you’re fully against equality for all people.

    Religion over human rights.
    It’s a powerful and sad statement.

    • OBA supporter says:

      That is not true. The OBA have stated they are for the protection of human rights.

      • Mike Hind says:

        And yet… this.

      • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

        All I’m going to say is that actions speak louder than words.

      • Clueless says:

        Yet they want the Marriage Act to be superior to the Human Rights Act.. Doesn’t seem like they are all for human rights.

      • Cow Polly says:

        How can they say they are for the protection of human rights when the LBGT community is a minority so any vote for their rights will fail?

  3. SANDGROWNAN says:

    There should be no referendum on what is a basic human rights issue. Massive failure here by the OBA. Shame on them.

    • hmmm says:

      Pehaps they couldn’t secure enough numbers to pass legislation directly from themselves and opposition party. Rather than this dying on itself, they’ve given it legs.

  4. Stickbone says:

    The OBA’s Constitutional Preamble, under Fairness states: “One Bermuda Alliance serves the many, not the few. Fairness to all will form the basis of our actions as the Government or the Opposition. We are guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal rights, and the overriding principle that all people are equal before the law.”

    I think this is referred to as lip service…

    • Mike Hind says:

      “We are guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal rights, and the overriding principle that all people are equal before the law.”

      I believe this is referred to as an outright lie.

      • OBA supporter says:

        Would you rather us but a failing bill through the house of assembly?

        • Mike Hind says:

          Us? Who is us?

          I’d RATHER they do the right thing.

          This, what they’re doing? Is not the right thing.

        • filobedo21 says:

          The failing bill should not even ahve come into the picture. @OBASupporter

  5. Strike fund says:

    Referendum on gaming (as promised)- yes
    On a human rights issue – no.

    • LOL says:

      it was good enough for Ireland but not good enough for Bermuda?

      • Just the Tip says:

        Well it was good thing that it passed in Ireland but it is well known that the reason it passed in Ireland was because a lot of them were doing it to spite the catholic church

      • Believe says:

        Ireland HAD to go to referendum because it required a change to the constitution of the country.

        Don’t compare things if you don’t understand the reasons for them.

        Btw – if you are going to compare to Ireland then accept that it was passed – by a predominantly catholic (you know Christian) population… and guess what society has not been affected at all !

  6. serengeti says:

    Yet another cave-in to the religious nuts.
    The harm those people do is beyond measure.

    • Joanne says:

      I worship one God, and believe I was created in His image and not evolved from a monkey, I
      believe in Honoring my Parents, I believe in not Steeling or longing for what others have, I don’t believe in killing and I keep one day aside to worship my creator. Jesus says to love the Lord with all my heart with all my mind and soul and love others as a I love my self. I believe in following what he says to the latter. Would you consider me a nut case if I uphold what has been the law in many countries including China Today there is no recognition of same-sex unions in China.Wikepepdia. for thousands of years. I say this world is headed for moral decay and degradation. WHERE DO WE DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN WHAT IS RIGHT OR WRONG or in your opinion is the REALLY RIGHT OR WRONG?

      • Noncents says:

        @ Joanne,

        If worshipping God dictates all of the decisions you make, I wouldn’t call you a nutcase.

        I’d call you a simpleton.

        • Daylilly says:

          Uh oh! The kindness and tolerance police are name calling again. What’s with the anti-Christian, Christophobic jabs.

          Let’s see, a “simpleton” is a foolish or gullible person. It takes the same level of gullibility to believe that the world was created by a series of really lucky explosions & that mass chaos produced the order, specificity and intelligence that runs this universe.

          Additionally, it floors me that so many SSM activists tout the Darwin theory of evolution when it is centered on the ability to compete, survive, and most importantly reproduce. Same sex relationships would not hold up to that sort of thinking because they are sterile. Intelligent Design would say that God has a purpose for every life and every life has value.

          Your values seem contradictory.

          • Mike Hind says:

            More nonsense from “Daylily”.

            This is just bizarre crazy talk.

      • Stickbone says:

        Sorry,when you said, “love others as a I love myself” you are mixing up “love” with “ego” and “arrogance”.

      • PBanks says:

        Moral decay and degradation? Sure, I believe that’s happening.
        However, I’d attribute that more to corrupt leaders, politicians, etc., wanton disregard for humanity, greed and selfishness. Not so much, gay people wishing to be married the same way that straight people are.

        • Daylilly says:

          Just because someone wants something doesn’t make them entitled to it. I want to be rich but my bank account keeps preventing me. I also want to be an Olympic athlete that’s not happening either.

          Respecting that people are entitled to live their own life doesn’t mean that we have to redefine marriage for everyone else.

          • Mike Hind says:

            We aren’t!

            This won’t affect ANYONE else’s marriage in any way!

            You’ve never answered WHY we shouldn’t redefine marriage (or just get rid of a single clause from one Act) in this case. We have many, many times before, in the past.
            Why not now?

            And, as you know, but are playing silly games, this isn’t just about what people want.

            People ARE entitled to something that they want WHEN EVERYONE ELSE IS ALLOWED TO HAVE IT BUT THEY AREN’T. That’s how it works! That’s how all this works.

            You don’t seem to get that.

      • Mike Hind says:

        You’re welcome to believe whatever you want. Where we draw the line is you thinking that anyone else has to live by the rules of your beliefs.
        That is wrong.

        • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

          Well I hate to break it to you but since the day you were born there have been rules that you have followed which were contrived in someone else’s brain…It is now time for the majority(The Peoples Voices) to be heard and not another dictatorial decision made a minority(Govt.)

          • Mike Hind says:

            Yes. And when those rules were wrong, they got changed. That’s how this works.
            I’m not sure you are getting what words mean. When a democratically elected Government makes a decision, it, by definition, cannot be dictatorial. The people’s voice was heard in the election. That’s how democracy works.

            Just keeping it real… for real.

            • LOL (Original TM*) says:

              Actually that’s the illusion of a democracy.. Greece once practiced real democracy except women, children, foreigners and slaves not being included. I’ll go find you the facts on that since you think I lie and do not present facts..

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_democracy

              I know wiki is not the best source but on this one ok in a quick search.

              LOL waiting for you to insult me again

      • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

        You believe in following what he says to the letter? Really? I find that incredibly hard to believe.

        I’m not judging your beliefs. I’m just suggesting that maybe you don’t take the entire bible into consideration. There are many things in the Bible that are said to be God’s word that are not followed today. Do you follow them?

        This issue isn’t about God and anyone’s beliefs. It’s about equal rights for all people.

        Giving equal rights to others won’t harm the outcome of your life in any way whatsoever.

        Live his word, but forcing others to follow those rules won’t get them to heaven, and it’s unlikely to help you either.

        • LOL (Original TM*) says:

          Guess a lot of people have limited knowledge on the bible the old testament is God directing the Jewish people the new testament is for those that follow Christ aka the new covenant. Just saying…..

          Oh wait must find a source fact for the Mike

          http://www.christianbiblereference.org/faq_OldTestamentLaw.htm

          • Just the Tip says:

            So why to Christians constantly quote Leviticus when the topic of homosexuality or marriage equality?

      • serengeti says:

        Personally I don’t need a commandment to tell me not to steal (or ‘steel’). I don’t know of any culture that encourages the practice of stealing. I do know that the bible encourages the keeping of slaves, genital mutilation, and stoning to death.

        The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. It is a proven factual explanation for what we all are. If you want, there are thousands of ways of finding out what evolution is. If you don’t want to know, you will I guess carry on being willfully ignorant.

        It’s fine for you to believe in something for which there is no evidence at all. You can follow any rules you like, if you enjoy making yourself a slave to an imaginary mythical power. I don’t care about that.

        The problem comes when you expect other people to enslave themselves in the same way to the myths that you believe. That is unjustifiable, and wrong. I don’t want my children to live in a totalitarian regime where they live in fear not only for their actions, but for their thoughts.

      • Come Correct says:

        “I worship one God, and believe I was created in His image”

        I take it you’re really good at hide and seek then…like ninja status.

  7. Ridiculous says:

    Where is the referendum on medical marijuana? Referendum on gaming? Referendum on education?

    This is a human rights issue that should not be decided by people who will be unaffected by the outcome.

    • LOL says:

      Ireland voted, why can’t Bermuda?

      • Mike Hind says:

        Ireland needed to change their constitution, thus had a need for a referendum.
        We don’t.

  8. Sarcastaball says:

    “This Government believes in upholding fundamental and basic human rights. As such, Government has an obligation to bring the matter of same-sex unions to a resolution.”
    – Clearly not.

    • lalalalala says:

      @Sarcastaball… No Government in Bermuda has the balls to do the right thing (scared of not being re-elected. Plus side is that the Chief Justice does. I believe he hasn’t finished aligning Bermuda’s Human Rights Legislation with the rest of the civilized world!!

  9. jono says:

    For ***** sake just do the right damn thing for once and stop playing politics!

  10. Mike Hind says:

    Shame on you, Premier Dunkley and, indeed, ALL of the OBA.

    You claim “We are guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal rights, and the overriding principle that all people are equal before the law.” and yet THIS is happening.

    You were supposed to be better. That’s what you promised.

    Do better. BE better.

    History will not judge you positively for this one.

    • hmm says:

      get over it

      • Mike Hind says:

        Well done. That added a lot to the conversation.

        Does it make you feel good to take random, nonsensical potshots while hiding under your hood of anonymity? Does it make you feel like a big man?

  11. Phillip Wells says:

    I don’t understand. The Premier said, “the Government is required to recognize same sex couples in a permanent relationship”, so presumably the status quo will not be an option in any referendum. Will we be asked to choose between civil unions or same-sex marriage, then? Seems unlikely given the Government has tabled the Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 to define marriage as between a man and a woman only. So what exactly will the referendum question be?

    • susan says:

      thats what im struggling with…. its not clear what the voting options will be…. can someone clarify QUICKLY!

  12. Sigh......... says:

    I’ve listened and waited and thought about this. I realize that both the government and the opposition do not have the guts to do what is really, right. They are all about saving face and pleasing the majority. I firmly believe that human rights are just that, human rights. It was a point when I thought that in order to see true change in society was to get involved in the political process in some way, shape or form. But I now realize that the process is a farce. To much politricks and hopes of not loosing votes. Instead of doing the right thing they opt to referendum. Gone are the days when there were BOLD leaders who really wanted to make a change for the better. I have not voted in many elections, only a few. I will continue to live peacefully as a law abiding citizen without worrying about voting etc. again. The politicians have lost me. I am sure they have many other votes from other people. We are all human and I see you all for what you are. Afraid I guess. So much for standing up for what you believe in.That’s why so many people are ashamed to come out of the closet. People just gotta live their lives for themselves and their small circle because no one really cares. A non- voter.

  13. Adrian Beasley says:

    What a deplorable turn of events – for this government to cave to the wishes of a FEW who want a referendum, to determine how the lives of other people are to pan out. This is such a joke.

    • Disappointed Onion says:

      Everyday I am getting more & more turned off by religion . . . Time for all religions to be taxed as after all, they are a busines, especially when they rent their halls out for nursery schools, events, etc., and a few churches collect tithes too! They should be fighting for human rights & sadly they are not!

      • Zevon says:

        Exactly. You would think religious people would defend human rights. But no. They want us all enslaved under their ridiculous stone age rules.

    • HW says:

      The European court would disagree with you. They have said to test the margin of appreciation FIRST. This is the method being used to do just that. Legislative changes should not be made prior to doing that.

  14. Pro voice says:

    The fact that the SSM lobbying group thought they were gaining ground is absolutely hilarious! The OBA is not on your side they stand with the people so do the PLP! Bipartisan effort to derail SSM! Good job Bermuda!

    • 21st Century says:

      you find the denial of Human Rights “hilarious”? Wow

  15. Jus' Replyin' says:

    While you are at it Dunkley, have a referendum for cats to decide whether mice should be protected.

  16. planeasday says:

    It seems as if the honeymoon is over for some doesn’t it?

    You are witnessing the only steadfast rule of politics at play presently – “pander to the greatest threat to your political existence”

    • Mike Hind says:

      But that’s the thing. The people they’re pandering to are either not going to vote for them anyway or ARE going to. This won’t affect things in any way.

    • serengeti says:

      Don’t get too excited. There is no way I’d ever vote for the party that borrowed us into oblivion.

    • filobedo21 says:

      I agree, and it’s shameful!

  17. Disappointment says:

    I actually thought that the Premier was made of better stuff. If the government cant make the right decision for a minority how can they even be trusted to make the right decisions for the country. Small minded politician’s, spineless in every way.

    Shame on the Government of Bermuda.

  18. 21st Century says:

    Please clarify. Will this be a binding or non-binding referendum?

  19. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    I think it is important to note the wording on this statement, the Premier did not clarify if the decision of same sex marriage would be decided by referendum, just that they were seeking the opinion of the people. They need to clarify the exact purpose of this referendum… That said the OBA must do better and uphold democracy. The rights of a minority must never again be sudjugated by the decisions of a majority. This is the point of the human rights act and to put a supremacy clause in any legislation to supercede the human rights act is an inexcusable violation of the act. The civil union legislation is not equal to the marriage legislation and as such is a waste of time; and even if the civil union legislation were to grant the exact same rights, then what is the point of creating a civil union legislation… why not just fix the marriage and matrimony to eliminate the discrimination. The word marriage belongs to no one group but to those who wish to commit themselves to it, and it is time for our democracy to be strengthened by those who were elected to do that… irregardless of their religious or sociological beliefs.

    • lalalalala says:

      “This is the point of the human rights act and to put a supremacy clause in any legislation to supercede the human rights act is an inexcusable violation of the act”

      Exactly, I believe that attempting to add this exclusion to the act is in contravention of the HRA!! I can see the clause (if passed) being fought all the way to the Privy Counsel (costing Bermuda a load of cash we don’t have) and we will lose… as we should!!

  20. Peace says:

    To those of faith, please ask yourselves if God would prefer you to spread the word or force it.

    To the politicians, when human rights issues clash with the will of the majority what should you choose? As an individual it’s an easy decision, but as a politician you’re compelled to go with the majority consensus. However society is made of many circles, and if one circle is set on oppressing another, on your honor you should stand against it. My friends are some of the hardest working Bermudians you could meet and they’re fighting to get the same rights we do.

    Please get the civil union bill through please give my friends their rights.

  21. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    Poor Premier Dunkley. This is going to be hell on his political legacy. Wrong side of History. Poor guy.

    • Mike Hind says:

      I’d say that this WILL be his political legacy.

    • LOL says:

      so the SSM vote in Ireland was misguided?

      • Believe says:

        You clearly don’t even know or understand why Ireland voted. It was for an amendment to the constitution so it was necessary. So no it wasnt misguided. It was obligatory ! Big difference to a change to an ‘Act’.

  22. Ed Case says:

    The rest of the world is moving toward SSM. Whatever we vote, won’t matter in a decade or so cos SSM will be here. We either lead or waste a load of money on a referendum. All because some churchy types are stamping their feet. Typical of them, pathetic of the Government to give in to such behaviour. What happened to separation of church and state?

  23. Silence Do Good says:

    The OBA has lost their minds. One of Government’s job is to protect the minority against the majority. This referendum is a joke and a slap in the face to all on both sides of the political spectrum. Do your jobs MP’s this is not a matter for referendum. Suppose the majority says civil union is not for Bermuda how does this stand up against the court ruling. Just more noneffective legislation to battle with. Kinda like the immigration act…toyed with so many time to close loop holes that the act is now Swiss cheese for the courts.

    Let have real referendums:

    Gaming
    Medical and Recreational Marijuana
    Public Private Partnerships
    Immigration

    Do your job MP’s just don’t pass the buck on a tough issues that will disenfranchise you from a portion of your constituency. If you are unwilling to do the job you signed on for give back part of your salary for deferring the wrong thing to a referendum. Jokers!

  24. Unbelievable says:

    The question of who a person chooses to be with during their lifetime is not a national one. At all. It’s a personal one and no other person should be able to decide that.

    This clearly is some political game play happening here.

  25. Maple Leaf Bermudian says:

    Toronto (Ontario), same sex marriage is legal.

    Toronto, recently named one of the best places in the world to live in.

    • obasellouts says:

      go the f… to Canada?

      • Mike Hind says:

        Why should Bermudians have to leave their country?

        This is disgusting.

        • LOL (Original TM*) says:

          Some of us have to to find work in our industry of study cause employers seem to prefer hiring others that they can control better…

          LOL

  26. Team Leader says:

    Married female Bermudian in same sex relationship – left Bermuda to have this right!!!!!

  27. Starting Point says:

    I guess we can have a referendum on women having the right to speak without express permission of a man…..as the bible is crystal clear on this;

    “As in all the churches of the saints, women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. (NRSV, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35)”

    I guess the OBA is for selective human rights.

  28. steva says:

    Despicable. Spineless OBA and PLP. None have the b@lls to do the right thing. I’m gay Bermudian living in the US(long term partnered). I make several trips a year to visit family and always bring partner and friends. Granted we don’t stay at hotels, but that gives us much more disposable income to spend in shops, restaurants, bars, boat cruises and even grocery stores. If this goes through I will definitely make less frequent obligatory solo trips to family, stop the on island spending, and take my vacations with friends in places that aren’t so damn homophobic.

  29. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Government/bring on the Referendum.Let the voice of the majority speak.Peace.

    • Zevon says:

      If the majority could speak they would probably not give you the religious freedom you currently enjoy. Think about that.

  30. Flattsboy says:

    I can’t think of a solid argument against gay marriage. That being said it always seems there are people who justify their position on the argument by saying, “Well, because it says so in The Bible…” Okay, STOP. Hold on. I’m glad you like a book. I really am. At this point I’m glad that anybody is reading anything! And I’m not even putting down The Bible– The Bible is terrific! Give it a read, it’s got monsters and adventures.But just because you like something in a book doesn’t mean that you can have the thing you like in the book happen in real life! That’s what crazy people want!

  31. Dr Ernest Peets Jr says:

    The announcement today is sensible and reasonable. Obviously there are strong views on either side of the debate. Regardless of our personal views, we live in a democratic society, a Referendum on this issue is the only way to allow the voting public to participate fully. Our Parliamentarians are elected to the House of Parliament to represent the views of their constituents. This announcement today does not do away with Human Rights, but fortifies the right of everybody vote on this issue. Whether for or against same sex marriage, the outcome of a Parliamentary vote or Referendum effects us all.

    • Peace says:

      Referendums should not be used to resolve human rights issues! It costs millions of tax dollars just to have one. We do not live in a purely democratic society since we have a constitution that is supposed to protect minority rights! The government allowing a referendum that decides the rights of a minority is really quite bad.

  32. Cow Polly says:

    Michael Dunkley – YOU ARE A COWARD!

    • filobedo21 says:

      Yes, and so is hiis Cabinet and the rest of them. The worst House of Assembly in ages.

    • ReALLyBettty says:

      treallly……

      • Mike Hind says:

        Yes, “Betty”.

        Unlike the blind allegiance for party that you promote, people can express displeasure for the Premier and the Government about things that they do wrong.

        That’s your entire problem. You can’t seem to understand this concept.

  33. Pro voice says:

    Mercy, you all are furious at Mr Dunkley and our government. Doesn’t gay mean happy? You all don’t sound very happy at all. You sound very wolf like with big yellow teeth, funny because you seemed so lamb like a few days ago. Now we see your true colors and the rainbow was only a mirage.

    • Mike Hind says:

      So… People should be happy and lie down like lambs when injustice is happening?

      Come on. Denouncing people for being angry and disgusted by this is a pathetic ploy.

  34. Cpt says:

    Disgusting, spineless cowards. I think I will spoil my ballot at the election. The courts will now have to uphold the HRA as this Government will not. Dunkley needs to go.

    • Mike Hind says:

      A movement of spoiled ballots is probably Bermuda’s best way forward in the next election.
      I don’t know what the outcome would be, but we certainly need to have a vote of no confidence against BOTH parties!

  35. Reality Check says:

    So let me get this straight . The referendum on gambling which was promised by the OBA , was never held because our elected MPs believed they already had a mandate to make decisions for us . Now we have an issue of human rights which should never be subject to any sort of majority opinion , and our Gov wants to hold a referendum . I can’t decide if I am more disgusted at the waste of tax dollars , or with the blatant display of cowardice in settling this issue .

    • Mike Hind says:

      Why can’t it be both?

      • Reality Check says:

        True enough . It’s all good fodder for some venting , but the reality is that it is very sad that our “leaders” are so completely unwilling/unable to recognize this as an issue of basic human rights , rather than an opportunity to score political points . I know the calendar in my kitchen says 2016 . I wonder what year is hanging on the wall at cabinet ? It’s all well and good to claim to be a global , mature society , but at some point you have to walk the walk .
        I see your name often in support of this issue . Keep up the fight . Bermuda is in fact full of good honest people , and right will win out in the end .

  36. Lois Frederick says:

    Funny Burt thought the funding for Parliamentary Registry was for a General Election and based his whole Budget Reply, according to what he said, on an Election this coming year. It would seem he didn’t foresee this Referendum at all.

  37. Guy says:

    Maybe we need to send these people places like Canada or Europe where it is more acceptable to be gay.

    • Peace says:

      I find it hard to believe that there are people out there with such a narrow worldview that they can think this way.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Are you seriously suggesting we deport Bermudian citizens?

      Seriously?

      In your mind, this is an ok thing to say?

  38. obasellouts says:

    lol, gays are angry.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Wouldn’t you be if you were treated as unfairly?

      Wouldn’t you be if someone you don’t know denied you access to rights based solely on their personal choice of religion?

      Yes. People are getting angry, because the opponents to this are using completely unfair and dishonest means to get their way. This is a very good reason to get angry.

  39. Citmin says:

    Let’s all understand something. This is not about marriage equality when legally there is a clear definition of marriage on the books to be a man and a woman. A male and female is our present definition. So two persons of the same sex does not equal inequality. This is what the European Court just ruled on by not granting marriage to a same sex couple. It’s up to a country to decide what it wants for marriage first and then you make legislation to support whatever the people want. The Human Rights Commission needs to be educated on this – someone needs to clarify this or persons are going to be deceived by those ignorant of our laws and the stance of the European Convention.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Denial of equal access to the rights and privileges afforded by marriage to the person of our choice IS inequality.
      The definition of marriage, specifically 15c of the Matrimonial Causes Act, is the entire problem and is what we are talking about.
      We’re not ignorant of our laws, we’re very aware of them. We’re just pointing out that this one is discriminatory and wrong.

    • Peace says:

      The European Court of Human Rights has stated clearly that failing to provide civil unions is a violation of human rights. This was set about in the Oliari case, and essentially means we will eventually be forced to allow civil unions even if there is a referendum in Bermuda. Having said that we would save a whole lot of money by not having a referendum and not fighting against the human rights commission and doing the right thing in the first place!

      • HW says:

        FALSE. This is not true at all. Legal recognition of some form, yes. But there is no obligation on member states to enact civil union or SSM legislation. Your statement is inaccurate and misleading.

        • Mike Hind says:

          So, we come back to “Why shouldn’t they be allowed to get married?”

          If they should get legal representation, why not just call it a marriage?

          Do you have an actual reason that we shouldn’t just do that?

          Or will you continue avoiding this question?

          Or, worse, do what you did before and lie about having answered it?

        • Just the Tip says:

          Actual your statement is inacturate and misleading. The ECHR stated that same sex couples should be given the same rights opposite sex couples. They did state that those right could be given in other ways through the laws (civil union ) but that right still had to be given.

  40. Bullseye says:

    I find it a waste to do this, but if you are please include a separate question on legalising Marijuana. Let the people decide that one too. Thank you.