Domestic Partnerships Act Tabled In Parliament

November 24, 2017 | 37 Comments

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown tabled the Domestic Partnerships Act in the House of Assembly today [Nov 24], with the Bill set to be debated on December 8th.

The Government previously stated 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.”

Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, the Minister said, “Earlier today I tabled the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 which is designed to extend a raft of legal benefits to same-sex couples and heterosexual couples who wish to engage in a domestic partnership.

“This Act is consistent with our election platform which said that the issue of marriage would be that of a conscience vote on same-sex marriage.

“We also stated that we would ensure that same-sex couples would have a raft of legal benefits accorded to them. But before we get to the processes by which we came to this point today, let me speak briefly about why we are where we are today.

The 7-minute live video replay is below:

“We are at this point legislatively because we have a rift in our community between two competing positions; one in support of same-sex marriage, or marriage equality, the other fundamentally opposed to it and who view marriage as that between a man and a woman.

“The more immediate political consequence is that there was a very high likelihood – a very real likelihood – that a private members bill would have been tabled in Parliament which would have outlawed same-sex marriage and afforded no rights whatsoever to same-sex couples.

“The majority of MPs would have supported that Bill, and we would have been in a position that is fundamentally contrary to what is currently in place.

“This Government took leadership on the issue and has decided to bring forward this Bill, which will ensure that same-sex couples will have a raft of legal benefits – more so than they currently have under the existing legislation.

“As I said earlier, we would ensure that there is a consultative process for dealing with this issue and we have now had three weeks of consultation on this matter. We had a town hall meeting which was a very lively event with a great deal of input. We have had over 3000 emails submitted to us by members of the community both in Bermuda and abroad.

“And we have had consultation with key stakeholder groups including the Human Rights Commission, the Centre for Justice, OUTBermuda and Preserve Marriage.

“What we have before us today, that was submitted to Parliament today, represents a series of amendments to that proposed legislation as a result of the consultation process.

“We believe that this is the ideal way forward at this time, and we hope that the Bermuda public will someday come to fully understand and appreciate these steps which the Government has taken.”

The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum says, “This Bill seeks to make provision for the formalisation and registration of a relationship between adult couples, to be known as a “domestic partnership”, to clarify the law relating to marriage, and to make connected and related provision.”

As far as “Provisions relating to marriage,” the Bill states, “Notwithstanding anything in the Human Rights Act 1981, any other provision of law or the judgment of the Supreme Court in Godwin and DeRoche v The Registrar General and others delivered on 5 May 2017, a marriage is void unless the parties are respectively male and female.”

“Nothing in the Bill shall invalidate any marriages which took place under the Marriage Act 1944 or the Maritime Marriage Act 1999 between two people of the same sex after 5 May 2017 [the date of the Supreme Court judgment in Godwin and DeRoche v The Registrar General and others] and before the commencement date.”

The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 follows below [PDF here]

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Comments (37)

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  1. smitty says:

    Maybe the Senators on the right side of history will oppose this disgusting proposed Act. Leave those people alone who want to marry who they want. I bet those same sex MARRIED couples have more of a stable marriage than marriage between and man and woman.

    • Female says:

      It’s nothing about 2 men in bed that’s healthy. It’s actually disgusting.

      • Mrs Brady says:

        The same could be said about 2 fat people, two old people, two people of a certain race. In each case is would be highly judgmental and offensive to say it. Just as it was for you to say it above.

      • Mike Hind says:

        It’s also legal and protected. We’re not talking about that.
        That argument was lost a LONG time ago.
        We’re talking about whether Bermudians deserve equal access to rights.
        I, personally, think they do and think that, if we, as a society, are going to deny people equal access to rights, there has to be a very good reason to do so.
        “I think it’s disgusting” isn’t a good enough reason.

        Do you have one?

      • Ty says:

        @Female – would 2 women in bed be better for you. This ALWAYS boggles my mind about the “straight” world. Whenever they mention the word GAY the only gender that comes to mind is MEN. Are only men gay???

      • bdaboy says:

        “It’s nothing about 2 men in bed that’s healthy. It’s actually disgusting.”

        The thought of a male and female in the privacy of their own bedroom is disgusting….

        What’s really disgusting is the average bermudians unhealthy interest in what other people do in private…that’s disgusting!

    • Vortex says:

      Welcome to Bermuda in 2017.

      Where the ruling party thinks its the 1980s and the church still matters.

      Embarrassing.

  2. Reuben says:

    So much for the second meeting, but then again that was all just so they could say they “consulted” the public. Count down to the court date now.

  3. Style says:

    Why not just leave it as is? I don’t hear anyone complaining about it or talking about how their lives have been changed. This literally has not had a single affect on anyone but the two parties involved. Simply sad and disappointing….Embarrassed to be Bermudian right now.

    -Straight Married human.

    • Boomer says:

      only because it offends MP Flip Flop

      • Kevin says:

        The PLP have become a serious Dictatorship , we do not matter , you do not matter , congratulations PLp supporters you have successfully took us back to the Stone age …. Burt grow some b@lls and run your government, when you have to try to create a bill so that another doesnt table his is quite frankly weak.

  4. Mira says:

    The agreement will be a milestones in the dictatorship PLP demise

    • Wake up Bie says:

      That’s the same thing they said in the polls in the other media before the election and look where that got you clown. JULY 18 LOLOLOLOL in ya face :)

  5. Jus' Wonderin' says:

    Thanks for consulting the public you jokers….

  6. Cow Polly says:

    “The majority of MPs would have supported that Bill” – I say let Flip Flop table his private bill and let those MPs vote their conscience. If they vote for the bill after a Supreme Court judgment be it on their heads.

  7. Cha says:

    I feel like there should be so form of an opposition to highlight the fact that they promised two meetings and only held one…I mean they didn’t even get booed off the stage at the first meeting.

  8. inna says:

    We now have a PLP government, and no questions must be asked of their actions, ever… at all.

    Unfortunately for us islanders, the government we deserve has been elected.

    Better start saving up them yankee dollars!!

  9. Mike Hind says:

    Shameful.

    You’re hurting people. You’re hurting Bermudians. Please stop it.

    • Remember says:

      The OBA hurt you also and the last Premier in the oba/ubp didn’t do nothing for you, but lets be honest you voted for them. We all know you didn’t vote plp micheal,

      • Mike Hind says:

        What does how I voted have to do with anything?
        BOTH parties suck, especially when it comes to this!

        Oh, wait, you’re just trying to portray me as an OBA supporter so you can try and dismiss the truth of what I said and change the subject. I’m not. I don’t support either party and I don’t understand anyone who does. They’re both awful. When it comes to their own bigotry, one is cowardly and the other overt.
        Neither is leading us. Neither is doing what is best for Bermuda. Neither is fighting for equality.

        But you Keep gloating. It’s really good for our country to treat Bermudians like you are.

    • Rightok says:

      The majority of Bermuda feels otherwise based on the referendum.

      • Josh C says:

        Actually no. The referendum is a moot point. Not enough of the voting population took part. Please stop attempting to use a failed referendum to support your point.

      • Mike Hind says:

        The majority of Bermuda refused to answer. Get it straight.
        This is the sort of dishonesty I’m talking about.

  10. Rocky5 says:

    24 -12 – a virtual Dictatorship and the weak OBA has proposed no amendments.

  11. Nicky says:

    This talk of consulting is ridiculous! The PLP were up in arms and protested that there was no consulting on other matters under the OBA. They want us to believe they are better with two weeks of so called consultation. This is Animal Farm all over again! They have not listened and are out of step with the times and human rights! Where is the leadership! Wayne is wagging the tail and David Burt’s head!

  12. Erm says:

    This is terrible…. I thought the P in PLP was for progressive…. Maybe rename themselves RLP. Did the world end with the same sex marriages that have already taken place, did whatever bad thing that is supposed to happen when a marriage isn’t between a man and a woman happen? Wouldn’t this government be better off spending their time reducing gang violence and shootings, road fatalities, improving the economy, increasing jobs, improving education etc etc etc

  13. Unbelivable says:

    Legislation introduced by straight people with broken marriages

  14. spider says:

    Separate but equal,oh well back to the courts for another schooling !!

  15. Joe Bloggs says:

    “We are at this point legislatively because we have a rift in our community between two competing positions; one in support of same-sex marriage, or marriage equality, the other fundamentally opposed to it and who view marriage as that between a man and a woman.”

    Yes, so let Bermuda buck the trend of the world and make “separate but equal” work, even though it never has before.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Yes. Two positions.

      One of which backs up its claims, stands by what is says and stands for what the other side claims to believe in, except for this one thing.

      The other, refuses to offer even a single defensible reason to hurt Bermudians, when they DO offer an excuse, they run away from any critique of it, resorting to lies and dishonesty to support their position.

      Two positions, only one has any sort of integrity and truth.

  16. Unbelivable says:

    If this ain’t two Bermudas, I don’t know what is.

  17. Really says:

    This issue is ridiculous, spend time in the house with things that matter. I was totally in favor of your sugar tax, and have heard nothing. The obesity rate here affects everyone, especially our insurance. It’s disgusting that the cars are 3 deep at Kentucky fried chicken. Start taking the cost of fruit, milk ,bread, and vegetables down and make junk food triple the cost. That would help everyone, who someone marries affects no one!

  18. PBanks says:

    Why are PM remaining silent on this issue? Certainly the Domestic Partnerships Act is counter to their stand that anything resembling a civil union is going to lead to marriage equality down the road. They campaigned vigorously on “No, No”, so this passivity right now is bizarre.

  19. Coffee says:

    We should just have a referendum ….. A binding one … Open to every RESIDENT OVER SIXTEEN WITH A VALID LICENSE AND EVERY RESIDENT OVER EIGHTEEN REGARDLESS OF WHETHER ONE HAS A LICENSE BUT PROOF OF VALID BERMUDA RESIDENCY .

  20. bdaboy says:

    “We should just have a referendum ”

    We did…no one cared enough to go out and vote….but they care about what people, who have no effect on their lives, do in private.
    Basically, you are selfish, greedy, bigoted Bermudians.

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