Video: MP Furbert On Human Rights Amendment

February 16, 2016

MP Wayne Furbert brought a Bill to the House — the “Human Rights Amendment Act 2016″ — which seeks to amend the Act as it pertains to discrimination and marriage, with the Bill, in effect, seeking to ensure that marriage is between a male and female.

Speaking outside the House on Friday, Mr Furbert told Bernews, “The Chief Justice made a ruling not too long ago, his whole ruling was around, basically, the supremacy of the Human Rights Act 1981, as far as discrimination is concerned, in regards to possibly same-sex marriage.

“So, what we have laid today is an amendment to the Human Rights Act, Clause Two, where it talks about discrimination.

“We put in there ‘Except For’, the idea that a male and female are the only ones who are able to get married in Bermuda. So, we will debate that Bill, hopefully, in the next couple weeks. I am confident that it will be passed by both parties.”

In addition to the Bill proposed by Mr Furbert, the Government also plans to table legislation that they said “will continue to define marriage as being between a man and a woman.”

During the information session on civil unions, Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said, “The Matrimonial Causes Act will remain in place.

“There will be legislation tabled, such that Section 15 of the Matrimonial Causes Act [PDF] will continue to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, and there will be a carve out clause which will enable that segment to have supremacy with respect to the Human Rights Act.”

Audio extract of the Minister’s comments at the meeting:

Back in 2013 when the Human Rights Act was being amended to include sexual orientation, Mr Furbert suggested a change pertaining to marriage, with his motion being defeated at that time.

Mr Furbert wanted to change the amendment so it could not affect the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1974, expressing concerns over same sex marriage, however it was defeated 18-12, with all OBA MPs and three PLP MPs voting to defeat it.

While Mr Furbert’s motion was defeated back in 2013, the main amendment to the Human Rights Act passed, which served to ban discrimination based on age or sexual orientation.

In November of last year, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley made a ruling which paves the way for non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians to be granted rights to live and work in Bermuda.

Speaking after the ruling, Home Affairs Minister Michael Fahy said, “The Chief Justice comes to this ruling by making a finding of indirect discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation under the Human Rights Act.”

Lawyer Mark Pettingill — who is representing a gay couple who filed a marriage application — previously said that his view is that, “As a result of the law that was changed with regard to discrimination on sexual orientation, that the provision of services – which is what occurs under the Marriage Act – it’s a service that’s provided by the Registrar to marry people or to give them a marriage license. The Act is clear that you cannot withhold services on the basis of any form of discrimination.”

On the same day this amendment was brought forward, OBA MP Sylvan Richards planned to bring a Private Members Bill entitled “Same-Sex Marriage Referendum Act 2016″ which was designed to pave the way to hold referendum on same sex marriage.

However the Bill was not laid, with Mr Richards saying that while it is his “personal belief that a referendum is the way forward,” he decided not lay the Bill after consultation with his Parliamentary colleagues.

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Comments (53)

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  1. Interesting; extremely interesting…

  2. hmmmmmmm says:

    at least one MP is taking a clear stand. I don’t know if it is his personal belief or the wishes of his constituency, but never the less. I normally do not applaud you Minister Furbert. But I will give you props for making a stand one way or another, which no one else has done.

    • brain drain says:

      A stance that will take us back before 1994 when this MP voted against the Stubbs bill. Amazing that we have had so much change since then but bigotry remains constant.

      • Common Sense says:

        Ironic isn’t it that way back in 1994 when Wayne was a UBP Member of Parliament he voted against the Stubbs Bill when all the leading members of the PLP (all of who had either led the PLP or went on to lead it) voted strongly in support of the Stubbs Bill which effectively legalized homosexuality between males. I’m referring to the then Leader of the PLP, L. Frederick Wade, former leader Dame Lois Browne-Evans, the Hon. Alex Scott, Dame Jennifer Smith, and the Hon Dr. Ewart Brown.

        It would appear that Wayne and the PLP are now doing an about face on their former leaders, and I hear of stirrings to also repeal the effects of the Stubbs Bill by some members of the PLP.

        What a tragedy that some folks would lead us backwards despite the inspired leadership of the likes of Dame Lois and Freddie Wade.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          The irony is that these right wing conservative views are trying to be enacted by a party that predominately calls itself “Progressive”

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The stance is, Mr. Furbert endorses discrimination and wishes to enact discrimination into the law that was meant to prevent it.

    • Cranberry says:

      If this stand is like any of his others he’ll change his mind anytime he gets a better offer…

  3. rhonda says:

    Am I the only one that sees a conflict of interest within the Oba.

    • Unbelievable says:

      If you’re talking about Pettingil, what’s the conflict?

    • Strike fund says:

      Furbert is in the PLP now. He was UBP and will probably join the OBA at some point.
      It’s interesting that somebody who changes so often has tabled such a discriminatory bill.

    • Cranberry says:

      Yup…

  4. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    Voting to amend the Human Rights Act to permit discrimination on any issue is like a turkey voting for Christmas. This is political pandering of the worst kind. There is clearly no shame, and there should be. This will make Bermuda the laughingstock of the developed world. This will never pass. It’s a vote grab from the lunatic fringe.

  5. Onion says:

    The PLP are becoming more and more Republican and turning into a reality denying social conservative party.

  6. SMH says:

    So the PLP want to put forward an amendment to the Human Rights Act to limit human rights. How ironic that the supposedly “Progressive” party is the least progressive of all. What next, an amendment to the Human Rights Act limiting the vote for women? blacks? Bermuda has become a sad place thanks to desperate politicians like this going everything they can to ensure their place at the trough

  7. Cow Polly says:

    OMIGOD…… what kind of a country am I living in where a member of Parliament brings a bill to implement a discriminatory clause into the Human Rights Clause?
    I only hope the remaining parliamentarians on both sides of the house have enough sense to vote this bill down.

  8. Quinton Berkley Butterfield says:

    “So, what we have laid today is an amendment to the Human Rights Act, Clause Two, where it talks about discrimination. We put in there ‘Except For’…”

    Wow, I am speechless….

    • SANDGROWNAN says:

      Well, to be fair, Flip Flop is a colossal person. So it’s not really a surprise he’d be this inconsiderate

  9. No says:

    Why does this man even open his mouth?

  10. MP Furbert is crazy says:

    To think that an elected MP of Bermuda would actually amend an Act to include discrimination is appalling. If that is he case then all heterosexuals should be discriminated against when requesting services from a homosexual establishment or a person of same carrying out those services. Remember you cannot always tell who we are but we have you pegged. Mr. Furbert I sure hope your words don’t come back to haunt you or bite you in the A**.

    In the great words of the Hunger Games series…..”May the odds be forever in your favor”.

  11. hmmm says:

    Furbert by promoting legally acceptable discrimination to be put into a human rights acts has just shown what a person he is.

  12. rhonda says:

    MP Pettigill vs Lawyer Pettigill

    SMDH

  13. blankman says:

    In other words, Mr Furbert is in favour of human rights as long as they are rights that he approves of.

    • Lalalala says:

      Exactly….. Why not take his act and amend it to include anyone who’s 1st name is Wayne? Human rights are just that a right…what a … Won’t use the c word!!

  14. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Not a vote for ,,,Black or White,,,,just a vote for Wrong ,or Right.G-D’s Law to be Upheld.Nature ,and The Creator,determine what is Wrong ,or Right.Male and Female made he them and he dont’make no mister in between or no homo- male Bermuda Queen, .Look around and open eyes, if you pretend that you are wise.Male and female reigns supreme, and everything else is a fairy -tail Dream.Peace.!

    • Cpt says:

      You are entitled to your religious beliefs. However, let’s be clear. Parliament gives churches the ability to carry out marriage ceremonies that are legally valid, NOT the other way round. Marriage is a legal contract in the eyes of the state. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact, one ends that contract in secular court, NOT the church. So, the question for those that oppose same sex marriage is…. Are you actually saying that some individuals should have limitations as to whether they can enter into secular contract law? Keep religion OUT of Parliament! Not everyone is Christian and a government represents everyone, not just some.

  15. Happy says:

    Wayne has lost all my votes unbelievable , so many folks playing GOD these days and I only know of one

  16. Build a Better Bermuda says:

    With this bill, Mr. Furbert effectively seeks to make the Human Rights Act pointless. The whole point of the supremacy of the Human Rights Act is to ensure that no legislature can never be brought into effect that would discriminate or impede the rights and liberties of any law abiding individual or group. To put an opt out clause that can have ‘Except for’ added at a whim is basically saying you think the whole idea of the Human Right Act is just to use it as toilet paper. To do this means that you really don’t give a damn about what true equality means, and that what went on a half century ago stand for nothing.
    Fine, you don’t like or agree with same sex. Guess what, no one is saying you have to… But there is no argument left in a truly democratic society, that can be used to justify maintaining a discriminatory law on marriage. Those arguments have either been thoroughly trashed by the sociological evidence from the pressence of same sex families successfully functioning in society already; or they are based entirely religious standing that are an affront to the freedom of religion/from religious persecution, that ensures no one person or group can have their beliefs impeded by or enforced on by another. Same sex families have been around long enough to show that they are no threat to society and family function, the threat lies with the pervasive attitude of intolerance that they are shown and treated to by others. Same sex families will not lead to the moral decay of our country/community; that is already being allowed to happen through the attitude of intolerance to others that has been allowed to grow within us; and the failure to maintain strong family support and values in just the mixed gender relationships that are supposed to create an environment for our children to grow.

  17. jt says:

    Well, maybe we get to see how the ducks line up.

  18. planeasday says:

    pages 69 -77 of the link…if you endeavor to read that “much”…
    It is the stuff of legend

  19. Hhmmmm says:

    appauling….

  20. George says:

    This suggested amendment to the Bill (and the watered down original itself) will never stand up in court, even if it does pass into law. The only ones to benefit from it as proposed will be Mark Pettingill and other lawyers like him who will fight it on principal all the way to the Privy Council if necessary. The law will eventually be struck down as its in contravention of Human Rights Law which takes precedence over all law. The present Government are delaying the inevitable to avoid losing votes at the next election. Whatever Government is in power at the time will be forced to amend it to recognise that marriage can not be defined by religious beliefs or tradition any longer. Welcome to the 21st Century Bermuda! The questions is do we want to accept that we need to adjust our beliefs/values and slide into modernity like the rest of the World or go kicking and screaming?

    • Keeping Pace says:

      George. I have to agree with you in that this will not hold up against scrutiny when challenged in the courts because of the very laws and treaties the government is quoting. Historical precedent shows that if this legislation passes SSM will be no more than 6-8 years away. There are only 1 of 2 choices. Pass SSM or reject it. No others. This double dutching is for those people who rely on public opinion rather than thinking with their own minds.

      Bottom line. This issue is too important to the future of this country for it to be made a simple conscience vote in parliament. Every Bermudian will be impacted in some way so instead of putting a mismatch of patches to this law that any half witted lawyer will be able to strike down, STOP. And put this issue to a referendum so that persons on both side of the argument can move forward with dignity and respect for each other. Right now you are simply causing a divide in this community which will have sincere negative repercussions in the very near future. Most all of you have been elected or appointed. An election must be called by the end of this year. 2017 is going to be interesting and not just because of the Americas Cup.

  21. Enough says:

    Yet another example of how ‘Progressive’ this party are on matters. I’d go as far as to call Furbert a deplorable human being but I don’t even think he can be classed as human after proposing this.

  22. Silence Do Good says:

    Ok maybe I don’t understand but correct me if I am wrong. Maybe they erred in reporting and left something out?

    Our notable MP wants to put in a discriminatory clause in the Human Rights Act?

    There is something missing in this article? This cannot be right? I am reading and listening to it again and again to see if I am missing something.

    If this is the case please MP Furbert resign after opening mouth and inserting foot. Take a stance yes but a discriminatory clause in the Human Rights Act? You really cannot make this stuff up.

    Don’t we have some mountain of debt or other social problems like crime that are more deserving of our attention than what people are doing in their bedroom?

  23. steve says:

    Ok..OK.. Mr Furbert we get it- your not Gay.In fact your so “not gay” you aspire to Deny Homosexuals rights that you enjoy. Your hurting people that don’t need any more hurt including at least 3 of my relatives and for what?

  24. Mike Hind says:

    Human Rights “…except when we don’t like it” aren’t actually human rights.

  25. Pete says:

    The fact that the opposition believes it can fly in the face of a worldwide demand for human rights equality is just one more demonstration of just how wrong it would be for Bermuda to ever consider putting them back in power. We desperately need a CREDIBLE opposition but it is not the one we have. Furbert as a politician and apparently as an individual does not deserve any more air-time and should be ignored…

  26. Caitlyn says:

    Wayne
    Make up your mind and stop grandstanding

  27. Egalatarian says:

    It is a sad day when MPs think that the clause ‘Except for….’ has a place in the Human Rights Bill. A very sad day

  28. jahstice says:

    Another irrelevant statement by flip flop.

  29. Jamal B says:

    So you can be married before you have to be human.
    New tourist industry, pet marriage market, as long as they are male and female?

    Wayne, I know you are a reasonable person, but this is a debate about religious beliefs, which the constitution was not based on, at all. We are not Americans or South Africans (the two countries that consider themselves Christian countries and used that as a basis for slavery, but I digress), God and religion have no place in law or law making. You are grasping at straws to make you minister/pastor hypocrit happy. Stop drinking, smoking, shopping on sabbath, extra-marital affairs (not accusing anyone in particular), children born out of wedlock (62% + of all children in Bermuda) and get your head out of the puritanical cloud look at the ground and the people around you. They are not gay and inferior just as being black is not an inferior state, just how you are born. We can spend the day drawing parallels, but a 3500 year old book with many interpretations, that allowed the Crusades, slavery of blacks and many European nations (like the Irish), Apartheid, the Holocaust and now this…

  30. aceboy says:

    Many of the arguments against making gay marriage legal is that marriage is not a human right, it is a legal union bewteen man and woman in front of God. Now they want to make the Human Rights Legislation exclude gay marriage.

    Wow. What is that, “hedging your bets?”

    Talk about speaking from both sides of their mouths.

  31. stand for something says:

    Why are some people so afraid of doing the right thing, just to keep a certain group of people happy. Just to not mess up chances of getting certain votes. How can one not see the benefits of the human rights act being just that, rights to protect us. How can anyone even think that entering a discriminatory clause is the way to go in the 21 century. After all that mankind has endured and overcome! What are our leaders made of these days? Mr. Furbert, I honestly say,you will never get my vote…surprised to the point were I can’t even speak.

  32. Just The Tips says:

    To be fair the OBA is planning to something thing similar, they are planing to stregthen Section 15 of the Matrimonial Causes Act and make it supersede the Human Rights act

  33. aceboy says:

    Furbert and co simply added “except for” to our Human Rights Legislation.

    If it weren’t so utterly pathetic it would be laughable.

  34. Square One says:

    Civic Union, partnership, bond or whatever it is called-yes. Marriage is between a Man and a Woman, end of story.

  35. LOL (Original TM*) says:

    Sorry so when will Christians be put behind bars for sticking to their beliefs……

    LOL in the name of tolerance Amen