Govt To Hold Information Sessions: Civil Unions

February 8, 2016

The Ministry of Community, Culture and Sports and Ministry of Home Affairs announced the dates for the “public information sessions regarding civil unions,” saying the two meetings are scheduled for 11 February at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for Performing Arts and 15 February at The Berkeley Institute.

Minister of Community, Culture and Sports, Pat Gordon-Pamplin said, “You will recall last year we hosted public meetings on the subject of same sex marriages to present international legislation and to engage the community in the discussion.

1 hour video of the audience participation segment during last year’s meeting:

“We received considerable input and written submissions from advocacy groups on both sides of the discussion. At the next round of meetings we will share what we’ve learned and how we plan on proceeding,” added the Minister.

The Public Information Sessions on Civil Unions in Bermuda will be held on Thursday, 11 February and Monday, 15 February both meetings will begin at 6:00 p.m.

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Civil Unions as “a legal relationship between two people of the same sex that gives them some of the same rights and responsibilities that married people have.”

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  1. European culture,Aaarrrggghhhh

    • Come Correct says:

      Photos: Prayer Vigil Taking Place On Marriage

      Onion Juice says:

      February 8, 2016

      The lack of diversity shows what segment that endorses this NASTY unnatural act.

      Keeping pace says:

      February 8, 2016

      It is really disheartening to read such hateful posts. We are your sisters, brothers, mothers, school friends, employers and co-workers. Have some respect. I again challenge you to bring constructive arguments to the table and stop with all this hate speech against the body of Christ. It sincerely detracts from your cause.

      Two polar opposite posts with one similarity…The avatar to the right of the name. So what culture do you group yourself with that would go so low to deliberately deceive their own countrymen?

      • Toodle-oo says:

        They’re not the same computer generated avatar .

        • Come Correct says:

          I know exactly what generates the avatar I just won’t say what it is so people like that can’t try to deliberately deceive people. My avatar has never changed since my first comment on Bernews because I believe liars and cheaters should be called out. Now I would appreciate, like I have done for years now, you don’t help them narrow it down to make it easier for them.

        • Onion Juicer says:

          Notice no change in avatar.

          • Toodle-oo says:

            I don’t know what you’re trying to get at . I know full well what goes on and a few have been caught out before while others remain oblivious .
            The fact remains that the two posts that you referred to had different avatars . Get it ?

            • Come Correct says:

              No, they didn’t. I posted the article name too. This isn’t a spot the difference puzzle. Get it?

              • Come Correct says:

                Damn it, changed back now.

              • Toodle-oo says:

                Sorry but you ARE wrong . They are different avatars . Look very closely again .
                And don’t get me wrong . I’m hardly trying to defend OJ . He just did not do what you’re accusing him of.

            • Come Correct says:

              My point is if I can shut Onion Juice up for one night…mission accomplished.

              • Hmmm says:

                I believe OJ to be a persona designed to to elicit response. No human being could be that warped.

        • Come Correct says:


    • Unbelievable says:

      How does BELCO let you have so much time off to post all day?

    • Come Correct says:

      “Aaarrrggghhhh”… something used quite often by (unfortunately) a facebook friend of mine. Have you yelled offensive things at any local drag Queens lately? If so I think you should come clean on a few things.

    • Jolly says:

      South Africa formalised civil unions in 2006. It’s not European culture, it’s human rights and decency.

    • Zevon says:

      Yeah. An information session. How “European”.

    • Education, education, education says:

      It’s so rich, varied and diverse.

      Methinks you have an inferiority complex.

  2. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    “The Merriam Webster dictionary defines Civil Unions as “a legal relationship between two people of the same sex that gives them some of the same rights and responsibilities that married people have.””

    Doesn’t say it grant them all of the same rights… and what if a church wants to perform a marriage for a same sex couple?? As it stands right now, Bermuda’s marriage laws (more specifically the Matrimony Act) are in conflict with the Human Rights act and it is just as easy to eliminate that conflict and grant full rights under the law. Churches can still marry and recognize what marriages they want to, same sex couples can marry and get the same rights as any other couple under the law, the world will keep spinning, society can keep evolving. Why waste time to create a token standing that in the end, still doesn’t eliminate the standing of the discrimination in the law.

    • interested says:

      very well said

    • Coffee says:

      Only problem … If a gay couple wants to marry at a certain church and the clergy refuse to officiate … Then we have a very unnecessary problem … So whose right trumps the other ?

      • Mike Hind says:

        Nope. Not a problem.

        Churches are already protected from this.
        They don’t have to perform weddings for anyone they don’t want to already.

        So, their rights trump the other.

        • Coffee says:

          …that is , until people like you who can’t get their own way scream discrimination . Someone WILL KICK THE HORNETS NEST .

          • Come Correct says:

            It’s discrimination both ways. You can not, with freedom of religion, force any religion or church to perform a marriage ceremony against their wishes. Get it now?

          • Mike Hind says:

            Nope. Not true.

            This isn’t happening anywhere else.

            Churches are and will always be protected.

            You’re making things up again. Things that are not true.

            • Coffee says:

              Or a cake shop refuses to bake a wedding cake for the couple , or a flower shop won’t deliver services or goods , or church hall won’t open reception hall for gay couple …. Lawsuit , lawsuit , lawsuit ….

              • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                That is because they are businesses, and businesses are not religious institutions, they are not allowed to discriminate their services against anyone, hetrosexual, homosexual, black, white, local, foreign, Christian, Muslim, atheist…….. Religions are the only organization allowed to practice discrimination as part of the Freedom of Religion… that practice however does not extend outside of their churches.

              • jono says:

                Or a movie theater refuses to serve blacks. But wait, you think gays choose to be gay ahahhaaha
                Don’t be dumb af

          • Zevon says:

            No one cares about churches. A church is a collection of like-minded people who all believe the same myths. Nothing more.

            • Build a Better Bermuda says:

              That’s disrespectful, it isn’t the church that is to blame, it is the people that govern in their own purposes. Churches have done both great good and great evil in their names, but it isn’t the churches it is the people, it is all part of the human condition.

              • serengeti says:

                It’s not disrespectful. It’s just a fact. A church is a group of people who believe the same myths. That’s what a church is.
                There is nothing stopping them doing it, but let’s all call it what it is.
                But when a religion uses its myths as a way to try to control others, that’s beyond ‘disrespectful’. That’s disgusting.

                • Build a Better Bermuda says:

                  Again, a human condition, the potential for both good and evil lies not in the institution, but in those that command it and how they seek to command it. I know of and had the pleasure of exchanging discussions with several enlightened clergy of various denominations in my life so far and expect that I will have more. The common denominator among them is that none seek to push their philosophy on others that do not welcome it and none claim to have the answer or that Jesus is the answer, because they recognize that each has their own journey and questions to explore. But they are still churches, they still represent institutions, they just do so with the best of humanity.

      • Come Correct says:

        I used to be forced to go to a building on Sundays where they refused to marry people that had been previously divorced. You were saying?

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Freedom of religion, church already have a protected right to marry or not marry who they wish. What in contention here is that the churches do not have the right say who or who cannot be married outside of their church.
        Now some will cite cases of pastor in the US who have been told they have to marry same sex couples against their religion, but the important difference to note in these cases is that these pastors weren’t operating churches, they were operating wedding chapel businesses and it is illegal for a business to discriminate against anyone under human rights. They were selling their religious services, not practicing them.

  3. Lois Frederick says:

    This is the compromise that is needed. Middle ground. Of course both sides have their extremists that would fight this too. I like give and take and this satisfies most areas of disagreement.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      It’s not a middle ground, it is a token gesture to create a second class that still maintains a state of discrimination in our legal system

      • Lois Frederick says:

        Tell me what the UK history is on this subject?

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          I don’t know what the UK history is, they do have a Civil Union, however, any secondarily created set of standards has to still be applied equally under the law, and the establishment of a ‘Civil Union’ classification does not address the fact that the current laws would still create a class of discrimination in violations of the human rights act.

          • Rich says:

            While my preference is for full marriage equality, I still would welcome civil unions and whatever protections are offered to the status quo, which is nothing.

        • Just the Tip says:

          They put civil unions into effect and then a few years later changed the laws about marriage so that every one could get married because they realised that civil unions were not equal.

          • Lois Frederick says:

            It was actually a 10 year period from 2004 until 2014 when SSM became legal in the UK. I support SSM, but I am also pragmatic about where Bermuda is as a society and what is achievable, politically, right now. As with a number of countries including OTs civil unions provide a big leap in the right direction. Some who oppose SSM also oppose Civil unions, including PM, as they recognize it invariably leads to SSM at a later date. What introducing civil unions does provide is a period of adjustment for a society, where people find it has little effect on their own lives in any way, unless you are a SS couple. Politics is the art of the possible.

  4. Coffee says:

    A heterosexual couple have been refused permission to register for a civil partnership.
    Tom Freeman and Katherine Doyle said they want to challenge “discriminatory” UK laws which restrict civil partnerships to same-sex couples.
    They plan legal action after their application was denied at Islington Register Office, north London.
    A spokesman for Islington Council said the pair’s request was refused because “the council must follow the law”.

    As long as the same injustice isn’t repeated in Bermuda !

    • Mike Hind says:

      As usual, completely missing the point.

      Civil unions were created because people like you, who don’t want gays to get married, forced the issue.
      The denial of rights is not deniable. The discrimination is not deniable. So, to appease anti-equality people like you, they created “Civil Unions” so gay folks could have access to equal rights.


      YOU lot created this problem. If you had just let gay folks get married, this wouldn’t be an issue.

      I’m sure any response from you will be reasonable and well-measured and won’t include horrible, offensive slurs.

      • Rich says:

        I didn’t quite get that from Coffee’s comment. It seemed like he was saying that civil partnerships should be available to opposite-sex couples, no?

        • Mike Hind says:

          This isn’t the first time he’s posted this.

          • Coffee says:

            And it probably won’t be the last , the truth may be an offense to you , but not a sin .

            Anyway I invited you to fight for the rights of heterosexuals , but clearly you aren’t interested . So I guess Mike won’t be answering the clarion call for true equal rights .

            • Mike Hind says:

              And yet, I explained my position clearly.

              But you don’t care about that. You have an agenda, as always.

              I love how you guys pull up one or two examples and that’s the be all end all, but when we talk about thousands and thousands of people, we should dismiss them.

              No double standard there.

              But let’s talk about this case. Yes. These folks should maybe be given access to a “Civil Union”… why they’d want one, I don’t know, but let’s take it as a given that they should be allowed to have one and that it’s wrong that they can’t.

              How does this make it ok to deny same sex couples equal rights with regards to marriage?

              What does this have to do with anything?

              Or is it only bad when it happens to your side, “Coffee”?

              For all this outrage you’re showing here with regards to people being denied rights, I’ve yet to hear you speak up for the equal access to rights for same sex couples.

              This is what privilege is, “Coffee”. When it’s only bad when it happens to your side.

              Should these people be allowed to get a Civil Union? Sure. Yes. They should.

              Will you say the same thing about same sex couples with regards to marriage?

              • Rich says:

                Ah sorry, I see now.

                Red herring and all.

                The idea of same sex couples having civil unions while opposite sex couples have marriages does have an air of separate-but-equal to it.

                And marriages traditionally have more benefits than civil unions or civil partnerships.

                So how any one can claim that giving same sex couples more rights than straight couples by enacting civil unions is beyond to me.

                FWIW New Zealand’s civil unions are open to people of the opposite and same sex. That could be a model for us.

            • Rich says:

              Well, I do agree that Civil Partnerships should be extended to heterosexual couples. Marriage is a patriarchal institution which is secular in nature, and I’m in favour of giving maximum freedom to people to order their lives as they see fit.

              But having said, there is far less urgency, and equating the two is dangerous. As the courts said this year in the case of Rebecca Steinfeld and Charles Keidan:

              “This is not a case where they cannot achieve formal state recognition of their relationship, with all the rights, benefits and protections that flow from such recognition; on the contrary, it is open to them to obtain that recognition by getting married.

              “The alleged interference by the state with their right to private life by denying them the right to enter a civil partnership is even more tenuous. There is no evidence that they are subjected to humiliation, derogatory treatment, or any other lack of respect for their private lives on grounds of their heterosexual orientation by reason of the withholding of the status of civil partners from them.”


            • Come Correct says:

              What are the rights for heterosexuals? We already have them.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          I completely agree, just as marriage should be available to same sex couples, if both acts discriminate, then they both need to be fixed

    • Rich says:

      That case was dismissed two weeks ago unfortunately. However, it will likely be appealed.

      • Coffee says:

        Hehe , But Mike spews hate in his own unique way , but it is hate all the same .

        • Mike Hind says:

          Nope. Never. Not once.

          This is another lie.

          Unless you’d care to show the courage of your convictions and show where I’ve done this?

          If not, you are nothing but a pathetic liar.

        • Come Correct says:

          The only thing I have EVER seen Mike spew is sarcasm and we’ll articulated inconvenient facts.

          • Coffee says:

            You got it correct , sarcastic hate …. But hate all the same , and that’s to anyone who disagrees with his world view .

            • Mike Hind says:

              Not even a little bit true.

              This is yet another lie.

              Unless, again, you’d like to prove it? If you can.

              I notice you “cleverly” evaded doing that in response to my reply…

              I don’t hate anyone. I also don’t lie. You, however, apparently do both…

              And doing it while hiding like a coward behind the hood of anonymity.

              • Coffee says:

                There he goes again .. Refusing to answer the call to fight for heterosexual rights while aggressively protecting his alter ego .

                • Mike Hind says:

                  Already addressed all of this in a post up the thread.

                  But don’t let reality get in the way of your bizarre fantasy.

                  “Aggressively protecting his alter ego”?
                  Which alter ego is that? What on earth are you talking about?

                  And, will you be showing where I’ve “spewed hate” at any point soon? Or just continuing this weird little play you’ve written in your head?

              • Coffee says:

                There he goes again .. Refusing to answer the call to fight for heterosexual rights while aggressively protecting his egos very righteous , stiff necked air of infallibility.

                • Rich says:

                  There is absolutely no instance in our laws or in our community of heterosexuals being discriminated against. Period.

                • Mike Hind says:

                  What alter ego? What are you talking about?

                  And when will you show that I “spew hate”?
                  Or are you content being known as a liar?

                  And I already spoke on your “heterosexual rights” thing.
                  Why are you ignoring that?

                  By the way “heterosexual rights” is a bit like “Why isn’t there a White History month” or “How come there are no NON handicapped parking spaces?”

  5. A legal partnership already provides everything same sex couples are seeking. There is no need to allow civil unions or change the marriage act. All the other stuff about hospital visitation, well that’s easy. We’ll just change the rules at the hospital, but marriage should always be and remain just between a man and a woman.

    • Mike Hind says:


    • Rich says:

      A legal partnership is a commercial arrangement and provides no such thing.

    • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

      marriage is just a word. Religious values should not dictate who can and can not get married. And in fact religions don’t dictate who can and can’t get married. Laws do.

      I’m not religious. I got married. In a church no less. By a minister. But with no mention of God in the ceremony.

      I spoke with the minister prior to the making of plans about the possible appearance of hypocrisy given my agnostic views but he saw no problem with it.

      So why should I, as a non-believer, be allowed to get married, but not someone because of their gender who could well believe in God, or not?

      Because my genitalia does not match that of my partners? I don’t understand how this can appear right to anyone.

  6. As a community , are we now ready to give legal protection to any two people living together? In times past, it was call common law or shacking up . That’s what people did. The law did not provide protection to that relationship.

    • Zevon says:

      That is exactly why they should be given the ability to marry. Just like everyone else.

  7. cromwell says:

    The increasing government support for same sex marriage is just going to cause more division and instability in the country and increase disrespect a militant gay agenda over same sex marriage has caused violent responses overseas.

    • Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

      This is the second article that you have alluded to the use of violence. Your true colours are showing.

  8. Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

    Why do civil unions only give ‘some’ of the same rights and responsibilities as marriages?

    • Zevon says:

      How about the right, which most of us take for granted, to be recognised as being married?

      • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

        I do not disagree, but I was curious about what rights or responsibilities are not included in a civil union that are included in a marriage.

        For the record, all marriages are effectively civil unions as they are licenced by the government and not any religion.

  9. anydeeng says:

    The same people who are trying to force their religious values on everyone in the country are the same people whos ancestors were forced under punishment of death to become christian.

    The real delusion is that many christians think that everyone should follow their religion as if there are no other ways of thinking and living.

  10. Falisha says:

    Bunch of turds

  11. Pete says:

    whilst I respect the right of religious groups to practice ones beliefs in fellowship with persons of like beliefs. They are not the Law of the Land.
    The Government should be and must not side with any form of religion, this includes any person of any faith working in Government not to force one`s belief on a situation.
    What we cannot allow in this day and time is a return to the Dark Day`s of Inquisitions.
    if Two people desire to form a bound, it`s their own right of choice.

  12. Eugenie says:

    It is my understanding that Bermuda is subject to the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights which was established in 1959 in order to enforce compliance with the European Convention on Human Rights. Based in Strasbourg, France, the Court accepts cases from both individuals and states. It only takes on a case after all possible legal recourse has been exhausted in national courts, and rulings are binding on the state against which the case has been brought. This court is an international court independent of any sovereign entity and with jurisdiction over 47 member countries and 800 million people. Enforcement of rulings is handled by the Committee of Ministers, comprised of the foreign ministers of the 47 different countries.

    When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in June 2015, there was no real confusion regarding the US Court’s authority or the scope of its jurisdiction – enforcement of Same Sex Marriage in the UNITED STATES(enforcement of the ruling has been another matter entirely). But the situation is murkier with the European Court of Human Rights. THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS HAS LEFT IT UP TO THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBER COUNTRIES TO DECIDE THE LEGALITY OF SAME SEX MARRIAGE. Significantly, when the European Court of Human Rights ruled in the recent case of Oliari and Others v. Italy in July 2015 that Italy is obligated to legally recognize and protect SAME SEX UNIONS, the judgment DID NOT call for marriage equality. The issue of Same Sex Marriage is to be left up to the individual member countries to decide.

    Therefore, given the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights and the current division within the community on this matter , it is only fitting that the issue of SSM be decided by a referendum – not by any special interest group that is either for – or against the issue.

  13. Eugenie says:
    Please read the link above. The ruling above from July 2015 upholds the position taken by the European Court of Human Rights in 2010 in which The European Court of Human Rights, when discussing the role of the judiciary when considering SSM in Europe stated:

    “…as matters stand, the question whether
    or not to allow same-sex marriage is left
    to regulation by the national law of the
    Contracting State. In that connection, the Court
    observes that marriage has deep-rooted social
    and cultural connotations which may differ
    largely from one society to another. The Court
    reiterates that it must not rush to substitute its
    own judgment in place of that of the national
    authorities, who are best placed to assess and
    respond to the needs of society…” *

    * ECtHR, Schalk and Kopf v. Austria, Application no 30141/04, judgment of 24 June 2010.

    SSM is not a human rights issue. The problem is that the laws need to be updated to provide benefits with respect to insurance, rights of next of kin , inheritance tax benefits etc. to persons who are in established relationships- irrespective of marriage or whether the relationship is heterosexual or homosexual.

    No one should be forced to adopt a religious practice to have a relationship recognized legally – nor should any religion be forced to accept a redefinition of marriage and their religious beliefs just because some people want to get “married” and don’t believe what the various religious scriptures say about marriage. If one does not accept the religious definition of marriage why is it so important to want to have a union in accordance to a ritual that one does not believe in? Why not simply live together and have the legal benefits of that union?

    • Pondering says:

      Agreed, so if the religious definition of marriage is not accepted, why the need to baptize, marry or bury from a church?

      Perhaps we should abolish ‘marriage’ altogether and one shares their life with whomever they want. Children could take on the mother’s name and a father could be there ………. or not!

      • Eugenie says:

        There is no legal requirement to baptize. Nor is there one to bury from a church – maybe in a church yard or a legal burial ground. Where did you get that information?

        • Eugenie says:

          The requirement is for births to be registered – with a name for the child and for deaths to be registered and the corpse to be legally disposed of…

        • Pondering says:

          no requirement, no, but most people do.

  14. 1 minute says:

    If Civil Unions are the same as Marriage, then why not call it Marriage