Consultation Begins On Domestic Partnership Bill

November 2, 2017 | 93 Comments

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown is seeking the public’s feedback regarding the draft bill on Domestic Partnerships, which the Government said will “essentially replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.”

The Bill, which is available below, will be posted on the Government website, and the Government said “members of the public are invited to send comments and questions to the following email address:domesticpartnership@gov.bm.”

“There will be a two week public consultation period which will begin today and conclude on Wednesday November 15,” a spokesperson said.

“As part of that consultation, the Ministry will host two town hall meetings on the bill. The first will take place on Wednesday November 8 at 5:30pm at the BIU Building; and the other on Thursday November 9 at 5:30pm at the St. Paul AME Church Hall.

“The bill will essentially replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Minister Brown said, “This topic has been a prolonged matter of great division in our country. The purpose of this public consultation period is to gain feedback from the public on the current draft bill regarding domestic partnerships and answer any questions that anyone might have. Stakeholder groups have already been informed as we seek to move forward in a collaborative way.”

The Government said, “It should be noted that all same-sex couples who are already married will not have this designation taken away from them.”

Same sex marriage has been legal since a Court ruling in May of this year, which followed after a same sex couple brought a legal case after their marriage application was declined by Bermuda’s Registrar-General, with the court ruling in their favour, saying “the common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.”

The draft of the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 follows below [PDF here]:

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Comments (93)

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  1. puzzled says:

    Don’t even have to nor will I read what he bill says/states.
    More division my this man et al.

    • X oba voter says:

      BEFORE ANY SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE PLP. LETS REMEMBER THE OBA/UBPERS HAD FULL CONTROL TO GIVE YOU ALL WANTED.
      IF I RECALL CORRECT… MILKMAN DIDN’T EVEN SHOW UP TO VOTE. SO IN THE END THE 12 SEAT NOW GOVERNMENT DIDN’T LISTEN TO YOUR CRIES FROM THE RAINBOW GROUP!

      • Dock Yard bie says:

        The Milkman even knows is not a good thing to have 2 men in love holding hands. Can’t blame him for keeping it real. Best thing he did as Premier when he didn’t support this lifestyle and vote. YUCK

        • Mike Hind says:

          Two men in love can already hold hands in public: we’re talking about marriage. Keep up.

          • Dock Yard bie says:

            Actually you need to catch up rainbow rider. What I really wanted to write I’m pretty sure Bernews wouldn’t print it.

            Holding hands is keeping it much more cleaner then what 2 grown men are doing when they was born as MEN!

            • Onion Juice II says:

              “Holding hands is keeping it much more cleaner then what 2 grown men are doing when they was born as MEN!”

              you spend a lot of time thinking about what gay men do in private….I bet it get’s you off every time. lol.

              closet case.

            • Mike Hind says:

              They’re allowed to do that, too.
              Not in public, of course… none of us are allowed to do that.

              Stopping them from having equal rights isn’t going to change that.

        • bdaboy says:

          “YUCK”

          Ah yes, the homophobic cries of a 12 year old.

        • Onion Juice says:

          “YUCK”

          I know, right? like when black people and white people get it on…gross, should be illegal.

      • Reuben says:

        at least they had the sense not to fight it in the courts, whats the point of this? Because of the courts ruling we now have marriage equality this bill is a move backwards what sense does that even make?

      • Kevin says:

        The PLP would still be pushing this through ….laws can be reversed …what we have is a group being allowed to take this country backwards .between 1999 and 2012 they successfully did this financially and now 2017 until they will strip little by little what dignity we had and our rights will diminish … getting close to a Fidel Castro style dictatorship ….Just not sure which one of them is acting as Fidel

        • bdaboy says:

          “getting close to a Fidel Castro style dictatorship”

          At least Cuba has socialized healthcare….Bermudians are like Americans…greedy and selfish.

    • Pathetic, just pathetic.

      • Ringmaster says:

        It’s clear who really the Premier, and it’s not David Burt who is the invisible “Premier”. All this pandering about immigration to look as if the PLP care about Bermudians, but not a word about jobs from The Premier/Minister of Finance or Jamahl Simmons, Minister for Economic Affairs, except to trash the America’s Cup. Presumably they are in meetings to work out how to trash the PwC report.
        Good luck to Bermuda. 24-12 has resulted in a dictatorship which is not creating jobs.

        • legalgal says:

          Wait until the Pickle Marriage group see my 2 protest posters – “Thank you for providing a pathway to gay marriage” (by nullifying the “cultural” local argument against it when this is challenged as discriminatory and the new s48(2) is challenged); and another banner reading “Marriage is dead” as heterosexuals opt for the new “Domestic Partnership” regime over the traditional, church marriage. That’s not 1, but 2 own goals! Still deeply offensive all round.

          • Mike Hind says:

            There’s no such thing as a church marriage.

            You’re thinking of a wedding.

        • Mother Theresa says:

          That’s what the PLP do best……regress.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Yes. You are.

      • Come on says:

        Taking away rights that were eastablished recently are disgusting. Brown is putrid.

        Onion juice, what are your thoughts on the disgusting actions of the leader of preserve marriage ?

      • Onion Juice II says:

        I’m Pathetic, Just pathetic.

    • This ex-pat agenda goes against our culture.

      • bdaboy says:

        “This ex-pat agenda goes against our culture.”

        You’re absolutely correct, for the first time in history.
        Ex-pats are educated. You’re simply an uneducated, skilless, self-proclaimed, self-loathing victim.
        Ex-pats can do for themselves, you just wait for handouts.

      • Zevon says:

        You’re an effin moron

      • Mike Hind says:

        Nothing in this post is correct.

        It is just hate:

        And it’s bad for our country.

        Please stop.

  2. alistair says:

    Read section 48: this overrules the HRA, again!!!! And a 13 day consultation period???!!! Really Walton? Thought you were a believer in human rights – how can you vote against Wayne’s Bill and then put this forward? Hypocrite!

    • Sandgrownan says:

      Every time he says he’s a defender of human rights – he’s lying.

  3. Come on says:

    That would be a NO Brown. You cannot dilute people’s established rights.

  4. frank says:

    Walton should hold off on this bill and let wayne table his bill first
    than all this will be over

  5. island exiled says:

    Every time i hear these hate mongering bigots talk about…oh don’t worry…we just will take a little bit of your rights away…i am assuming that this legislation will remove all marriages opposite sex or same sex going forward. I am hoping that brides can spend tens of thousands of dollars on their domestic partnership cake.

    Truly for people who have the audacity to call yourselves progressive.. you prove yourself to be more more and more backwards hate mongering alt. right…so when the PLP decides to stand up to stop those insidious same sex marriages…just remember you are no better than those groups who keep warm with those burning crosses.

  6. Sandgrownan says:

    No no no. Regressive PLP again.

  7. BermyChef says:

    I will be ashamed of this country if this passes, my whole life I have been proud to a Bermudian and felt it as a point of pride. After graduating school I came back to work and live here unlike many of my friends.

    Who felt the island was either a ‘dead-end road’ or somewhere they felt they didn’t belong. I always questioned their beliefs and stood up for the Bermuda I remember and the place I believe in. Lately, I keep on wondering if that Bermuda is gone and they were right.

  8. Bullnoseh says:

    Town Hall meetings = mob rule.

    That’s not “consultation”.

    • legalgal says:

      The “24-12″ chant is effectively a threatening reminder of the tyranny of the majority where they trample over individual, human rights.

  9. Family Man says:

    Why? What’s the need for this bill? What benefit does it provide – to anyone?

    If your church doesn’t want to wed two same sex people, fine. No problem. Nobody has an issue with that and nobody is insisting your church has anything to do with it if they don’t want to. But there’s no reason two same sex people can’t get married elsewhere in Bermuda.

  10. Athena says:

    This smacks of another strike against human rights.

    All this is starting to have a familiarity to certain happenings in the 20th century.

    Does 1938 – 1945 ring any bells?

    Seems particularly ironic that on November 11 we honor those who gave their lives that all could one day be equal.

  11. voltage says:

    This has got to be one of the shortest and limited community consultation processes on record – by any Government.

    It has all the signs of an evening of a fight for the mike to prove I’m right – generating more community pain and suffering around the act of loving another human being.

  12. Peace says:

    Dear Mr. Brown,
    I believe that government should provide a platform upon which all peaceful beliefs reside. As such I don’t see why same sex couples should have fewer rights than others. Also opposing parties on the issue have already been to several town halls, and everyone already said their piece. I believe those talks had a very good showing from both sides, and I get the feeling these town halls will be nowhere near as inclusive or open.

    Despite the age of Trump, I know the world will eventually move forward and become more inclusive. I hope that this tiny island of ours can be a driver of that change, not just another sheep. So much time and effort has been put into this, especially by the minority under scrutiny. Why is yet more time and public money being used to push this agenda?

    Is it just being done for a quick political win, or do you really think suppressing this minority is in the best interests of the public? If you think it is in the best interest of the public, can you describe determents or benefits? Can you truly say that your time and public resources could not have been allocated toward a better cause?

    I dream of a more inclusive Bermuda, what do you dream of?

  13. Freedom? says:

    I actually think that no one should be allowed to get married in the eyes of the law and that everyone should fall underneath domestic partnerships, regardless of gender. From a law and Government perspective, it should be a domestic partnership.

    From a religion perspective, you can then get married if your religion allows for it or whatever, but the marriage part has no affect on the legal binding of two individuals. If this bill is written correctly, then I personally welcome it.

    • Family Man says:

      Dude, that’s exactly what a marriage is. The legal joining of two people in a ‘domestic partnership’ is marriage. The ceremony, in a church in front of a priest etc. or on a beach in front of friends, is a wedding ceremony.

      And since we have that already, why the need for this cluster f$%k.

      • Flattslander says:

        It’s a distraction from the real problems on the Island. Trump does the same thing with his twitter.

  14. Flattslander says:

    I worry about the future of our island. Any accurate reading of the bible should make it clear that gay rights goes against the plain truth of the word of god. As many preachers have warned, man and overstepping the boundary lines god has drawn by making special rights for gays and lesbians has taken another step in the direction of inviting the judgment of god upon our land.

    Keeping gay rights is but another stepping stone toward the immorality and lawlessness that will be characteristic of the last days.

    It’s not that we don’t care about homosexuals. But it’s that our rights will be taken away, and unchristian views will be forced on us and our children. For we would be forced to go against our personal morals. It is not in line with the bible – do not let people lead you astray.

    The liberals leading this movement do not believe in the bible any longer. But every good, substantial, bible believing, intelligent,christian can read the word of god and know what is happening is not of god. When you run into conflict with god’s established order you have trouble. You do not produce harmony. You produce destruction and trouble and our Island is in the greatest danger that it has have ever been in, in its history. The reason is that we have gotten away from the bible of our forefathers.

    The right of segregation…, is clearly established by the holy scriptures, both by precept and example.

    I think I’ve made my point, All I have done is simply taken out the phrase racial integration and substituted with the phrase gay rights.

    See how similar the argument that was used against ending segeration is to the argument in favour of taking away the rights of homosexuals to wed and thus have the same rights of a married couple.

    If Bermuda goes back on this make no mistake, it will make global news and for the majority we will be seen as a backward island full of backward people.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Your personal religion is exactly that. Personal and yours.
      Things being against your religion means that YOU can’t do it. Not everyone else.

      Just as you wouldn’t want someone imposing their religious restrictions on you, don’t impose yours on others.

      • BermyChef says:

        Did you read the whole comment? They flip the whole argument upside down at the end.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Chef,

          My bad. I’ve read hate filled drivel like the first bit so often, by brain shuts off. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.

      • De Truth says:

        unchristian views will be forced on us and our children. Thats the point!!! Mike!!!

        • bdaboy says:

          “unchristian views will be forced on us and our children. ”

          you should keep your christian BS to yourself.

          If you were a christian, you’d already know this. But, you’re just another hater, hiding behind the bible.
          You’ll burn in hell, along with the others like you. LOL

        • Mike Hind says:

          Just to be clear…

          You’re saying that it’s bad for people to force people to do stuff based on religion?

    • Onion Juice II says:

      “I worry about the future of our island.”

      Then why vote plp?
      Obviously, you have a lot of hatred for your fellow Bermudians…perhaps you need salvation?

    • rene says:

      I don’t believe you said “accurate reading of the bible”. Have you read it? Revelations is a horror story I wouldn’t want my children reading it. Burning bushes, parting oceans, floods that covered the entire earth, penguins that walked from Antartica to the middle east to get on board. God appearing to illiterate goat herders in a desert in lieu of Chinese who were writing at least 2000 years before. I would not use the bible as a moral compass for anything its clearly flawed.

  15. Tania Stafford says:

    hmmm both meetings are in Hamilton … how about 3 meetings East, central and west?

  16. Mike Hind says:

    Sickening.

    There is absolutely no reason to do this.
    None at all.

    It’s ridiculous that, after all these years of hearing “you can’t redefine marriage” as an excuse to discriminate against people, they now want to redefine marriage.

    Shame on you, Walton, and anyone that is ok with this.
    You are bad for our country.

    • legalgal says:

      But celebrate the fact that Walt has inadvertently opened the back door to gay marriage. The unintended consequence of this is he has created a “Pathway to gay marriage/equal marital rights”. A bit like the rights the Tweedy decision helps establish the other pathway!

      • Mike Hind says:

        We already have Marriage Equality. The path has been walked. We’re there.

        • legalgal says:

          We have the decision which still stands, but in addition they are seeking to positively allow for discrimination against gay persons. This will nullify the decision, albeit not backdate it so marriages performed before any date of enactment will be grandfathered in. But open to challenge this again, and would likely proceed.

        • legalgal says:

          This is big – provides an alternative for heterosexual couples too. As drafted it does not appear to restrict itself to same sex couples. Still discriminatory and offensive for gay people (and equal rights individuals) but a good day for anti-marriage heterosexual people! An end to marriage?!

          S48 (2) seeks to specifically nullify the recent decision and all for specific discrimination.

        • Dock Yard bie says:

          Ya the only one there. Instead of complaining why don’t you hold your heads high and organize a GAY march all the way to Parliment house.

          • Mike Hind says:

            Notice the ignorance in this post.
            This person has absolutely no idea what’s actually going on, but chooses to post some bizarre attack, mouthing off nonsense showing just how ill-informed they are.

            We, as in Bermuda, are already there. We have Marriage Equality. Not just me. Al of us.

    • MYOPIA says:

      WALTON IS A TRAITOR

    • MYOPIA says:

      MIKE HIND….
      Shame indeed. A DISGRACE TO A RACE WHO FOUGHT SO HARD FOR ALL MANNER OF RIGHTS.
      That he would not accept the Supreme Court ruling of Charles-Etta Simmons of May 5th 2017 is pathetic and an affront to equality. He doth forget the struggles of the past. That he would repeat the sins of others makes him a hypocrite and a bigot.

      • bdaboy says:

        ” He doth forget the struggles of the past. That he would repeat the sins of others makes him a hypocrite and a bigot.”

        Absolutely, of the worst kind!

  17. legalgal says:

    On a positive note – this is a “Pathways to gay marriage” opens the back door to gay marriage. It will remove the “culture” objection when it is challenged. On a negative note, Bermuda is creating a “separate but equal” Bantustan which was discriminatory on race grounds, and is discriminatory on sexual orientation. And fun and games to follow when the heterosexuals claim they are now being discriminated and want a civil union. (Not likely to succeed but should waste some court time.)

    The regime needs to also find acceptable neutral grounds for debate. BIU and that church are not neutral on this issue.

  18. New Day says:

    Good, should not even wait.

    Just make the change and let the lbgtabc group complain for a bit.

    Tired of this conversation and tired of them.

    • Peace says:

      Tired of them for what?

      They did not bring the conversation back up.

    • Bermudafirst says:

      I’m tired of them as well,wanting everyone to change just because they don’t agree with what people want. We should kick them off our island it was better back in the day when we didn’t have to listen to them.

      • PBanks says:

        Hah. Yeah, push them right back into the closet. Force them to live secret lives again (and damage lives in the process). That’ll make Bermuda a better place.

        *rolls eyes*

      • Mike Hind says:

        You want to kick Bermudians off the island because YOU don’t want them to have equal rights? You don’t want to have to listen to them fight for equality, so we should kick them out of our country?

        Are you even a little bit serious with this?

      • Double S says:

        Wow you PLPers become a little more fascist each and everyday. Want to kick people off the island because they are standing up for their rights.

        This is the mindset right here that makes me close my ears when you cry about racism and the like. You are what you hate.

        Nasty bunch you ALL are.

        You should be ashamed of yourself and don’ t ever claim you and your Party stands for human rights.

      • sandgrownan says:

        That is really one of the most heartless and disgusting things I have ever read. Really quite awful.

    • Mike Hind says:

      You think YOU’RE tired? Imagine having to fight to be treated as an equal in this country! Imagine being told you aren’t worthy of equality! Imagine being told that you’re less than the rest of us, simply because of who you love!

      You’re tired of this conversation? So are the folks fighting to end it!

    • sandgrownan says:

      You probably claim to be christian

  19. legalgal says:

    This is big – provides an alternative for heterosexual couples too. As drafted it does not appear to restrict itself to same sex couples. Still discriminatory and offensive for gay people (and equal rights individuals) but a good day for anti-marriage heterosexual people! An end to marriage?!

  20. Zevon says:

    Another PLP law restricting human rights.

  21. sandgrownan says:

    You know, with this, and Crystal Caesar mouthing off on subjects she is ill equipped to opine on, I am ashamed to be Bermudian. It’s regressive and hateful.

    What a bunch of unconscionable a**holes.

  22. aceboy says:

    Consultation? In two meetings, one held at an AME Church and another at BIU Headquarters?

    Really???

    That is consultation in the minds of the PLP government? That is not good governance, it is tricky slippery and ugly politics.

  23. Joe Bloggs says:

    *waves bye-bye to more human rights*

  24. PBanks says:

    Be interesting to see what PM’s view is on this, considering they went hard with the “No, No” view on the subject.

  25. rene says:

    This is very clever on the part of the PLP, without taking away the “priviledge” of those who want to assume the sanctimonious grounds of priviledge to marriage as in it’s a sacred right of passage only for the most worthy (probably bible thumpers) and then the other ones who think same sex relationships are infectiousness like a disease. This effectively puts all relationships on an even keel. Absolutely brilliant!!!

  26. SAME LOVE says:

    Re: Bermuda Governments attempt to strip marriage equality – the 1st country in the world “attempting” to reverse the newfound rights of a minority – after the Supreme Courts ruling protected the rights of Same Sex couples to marry on May 5th 2017.

    I cannot believe the current BERMUDA PLP Government would try and undo the Supreme Court ruling by Charles-Etta Simmons of May 5th 2017 that made it possible for same sex marriage in Bermuda.

    Bermuda, we must fight this all the way to the PRIVY COUNCIL……
    How people who fought hard for so many rights ( and rightfully so ) could deny others, is an anathema to many. This is rooted in religious ideology. The fact that “religion” would attempt to trample on the rights of others, when all religions are protected by law, is indeed the greatest sin.
    Mark Pettingill, Bermudian lawyer for a gay couples application for a marriage license, successfully argued as much. Mark said he would be the first to defend anyone threatening any church, but by the same token no church had the right to impose “their beliefs” on others.
    This indeed is de facto the back door method the Immigration Minister of Bermuda Walton Brown is attempting to do. A man hitherto before who supported Marriage Equality.
    Funny (actually sad) how votes and politics can warp a persons position.

  27. bdaboy says:

    “This is very clever on the part of the PLP,”

    except, it’s not by design….it’s because they don’t know what they’re doing and are blinded by the hatred they have for ‘other’ Bermudians.

  28. Will says:

    The only stakeholder groups that should be involved are the people who wish to marry the same sex! It doesnt concern anyone else as to who someone wishes to marry!!

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