Video: Town Hall On Domestic Partnership Bill

November 8, 2017 | 46 Comments

[Updated] The Government held a Town Hall this evening [Nov 8] on the draft bill 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.”

Domestic Partnership Bill Town Hall Bermuda, November 8 2017_4562

The meeting began with comments from Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown, and then the floor was opened for comments.

The Government said there will be a public consultation period which concludes on Wednesday November 15th, and people are invited to send comments and questions to domesticpartnership@gov.bm.

The 90-minute live video replay is below:



Update:
Speaking at the event, Minister Brown said, “Why is this being done? It is being done for one very simple reason. The status quo, which allows for same-sex marriage, is embraced by one segment of the community; it is not embraced by another.

“The Parliamentary reality is that, in the Progressive Labour Party, this issue, for the last 25 years, has been a matter of conscience. So the Party has not taken a position, and does not intend to take a formal position on this issue; each member is allowed to vote his or her conscience on the issue.

“In our election platform this year, our position was clarified in writing, in which we said the issue of same sex marriage – or yes we can use the word marriage equality – that issue remains a matter of conscience. The Party, however, will commit to putting into place a framework of legal benefits for same sex couples.

“We won the election on that basis – in part on that basis – and we have a set of circumstances in which, one member representing a majority of Members in Parliament, is intent or has been intent, on proposing a Private Members Bill which would outlaw same sex marriage.

“Not a Party Bill, not a Government Bill; a Private Member’s Bill. If that Bill is tabled, or would be tabled, it will command the support of a majority of Members of Parliament, because a majority of Members of Parliament do not support same sex marriage.

“If that Bill was to pass, same sex couples would have no legal protections whatsoever; that is the political reality. And so, despite what anyone may feel about what is the appropriate thing to do – and we could have a very intense debate about that – that is the political reality.

“What this Government is doing is ensuring that same sex couples do in fact have a wealth of legal benefits, because of what would happen if we do nothing.

“We could do nothing. A Private Member’s Bill would be tabled, debated, and become law. There is some discussion as to whether or not the Governor would sign off on that legislation, and I have seen comments that suggest there might an issue.

“But if the Governor was to refuse to sign off on a Bill that is passed by a democratically elected Parliament, you would have a constitutional crisis. We are in no position to have a constitutional crisis today.

The Minister added that the Government is tabling a Bill “which will achieve what a Private Member’s Bill would achieve” but also “provide for legal protections for same-sex couples.”

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Comments (46)

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  1. Keepin it Real says:

    Can we get some on with Real issues facing this country! Like gun murders, gang issues, education, the airport and a host of other serious issues! This is too much of a distraction!

    • Flat Tire says:

      Ironic that this panel is sitting below a banner that says United we Stand and Dived We Fall.

    • MYOPIA says:

      The trouble with this SMOKE & MIRRORS nonsense is this is the classic bait and switch strategy by Walton “Independence” Brown and the PLP.
      The PLP seemingly cut a deal with Wayne Furbert to sit on his Legislation of Discrimination in return for a wee handout and pay promotion to Junior Minister of Finance. SMH the dude couldn’t even run a coffee shop.

      So Wayne goes away whilst Walton introduces the “Domestic Partnership” Legislation. They dress it up with “benefits to gays” but in reality this is the reversal of SAME SEX MARRIAGE. This is a government set to make dark history with the reversal of equality for the LGBTQ community.

      The PLP could easily have accepted the ruling of the Supreme Court of May 5th 2017. But NO, they refuse to do that. Walton Brown lectured people about comparing the Civil Rights Struggle of the 60′s. He went on to say that they resented people using Nelson Mandela or MLK to justify to argument for LGBT equality.

      The PLP have sold their soul to he religious vote. The PLP have lowered themselves to repeating the sins of others who abused folks in the past by denying equality and rights. It is blatant hypocrisy

      • Paul says:

        Let’s create a constitutional crisis because we are bigots and distract the voting public from noticing that we are doing nothing about the really serious issues facing Bermuda

  2. Ringmaster says:

    What a waste of time. The panel had no intention to hear any dissenting views.

    • Zevon says:

      It’s just an excuse to say they “consulted”. They had a meeting.

      • Better then what O.B.A. did, whose motto was ” we dont care what you think, we’re gonna do what we want.”
        Thats why their @$$€$ got voted out.

        • nerema says:

          They got voted out because the PLP repeatedly lied to the electorate.

        • wahoo says:

          They got voted out because the majority got hoodwinked into thinking that the plp have the best interests of Bermuda at heart. Please make the effort to release the PWC report and the BIU’s financials.

        • Mike Hind says:

          “We don’t care what you think”… that sounds familiar…

          Not sure it was an OBAer that said it, though…

    • TO RINGMASTER:
      Now YOU have a clearer picture when oba inplemented a host of garbage plans to the country.
      I am 100% sure that you could not have cared less how the implementation of oba’s plans affected Bermudians.
      Well, well!
      The shoes must be worn on your feet now.
      How does it feel????

      • jt says:

        And it was one of your primary reasons that the OBA needed to be replaced but it’s all good now.
        At least those opposed allowed the meeting to continue.

      • aceboy says:

        Garbage plans? Like this idiotic display of bigotry.

      • Sherbet man says:

        What plans affected you like this garbage plan?! Dummy

      • bdaboy says:

        “How does it feel????”

        it feels like the plp are just as bad as the other guys. No different than any other government, they’re in it for themselves only.

      • Mike Hind says:

        You’re literally saying “it’s ok when we do it”…

        Unbelievable

      • Athena says:

        So far ‘have some backbone’ all I am hearing from the PLP is a bunch of garbage plans for the country.

        This is just one example that they are not for all Bermudians.

        The shoe is now on the PLP’s foot – so far we’re getting the same old track as before. Into a rut.

  3. jt says:

    There are a lot of things poised to bring Bermuda to its knees. Gay marriage is not one of them. A reversal on gay marriage could well be.

    • Zevon says:

      And then they will blame everyone else for their failure.

    • Unbelievable says:

      @jt….That’s nonsense. get out of the way and let these people run their lives how they see fit. It zero to do with you.

      • jt says:

        Not sure what you felt I said but if you think I’m opposed to gay marriage read again.

  4. paperboy says:

    Thanks for covering this live Bernews – a vexing complex issue we continue to poke at. The more we poke the more we get stuck in the details and not the ideals. If Bermuda is not ready how do we help it get ready? The path may not be found in the proposed steps.

    We are seeing the shadow of party politics and the clear compromise of advocating for a low if not the lowest common denominator that for some is only seen as regressive and punitive – creating a second class citizen.

    I admire the courage of those who spoke about their stories and the relationships they care about – sharing their desire to see this issue of Diversity and the current legal rights to marry be honoured.

    As one speaker asked: How many same sex married couples impact us daily the way gang violence, economic disparity, poor education and racism do?

  5. cpm says:

    What about having meetings at neutral venues ?

  6. Cow polly says:

    The argument basically centres around the threat that if the private members bill is tabled it will pass. so the solution is don’t table it. One man is holding Bermuda to randsom that is not democracy and his party should grow some and make him withdraw the bill

    • jt says:

      Can someone tell us if Furbert, as Junior Finance Minister, can table his bill?

    • Reuben says:

      The thing is they (the PLP) don’t want him to table it because if he does they know that it will make them look weak when they are pulled before the courts and when people take them to court. Its a fight they know they can’t win.

  7. Real Onion says:

    Pathetic…typical plp nonsense!

    • BermyChef says:

      Already is, the Human Rights Commision and Chelsea Clinton have both tweeted about it. It’s been shared 1,000′s of times each.

  8. local says:

    A reversal on gay marriage will damage Bermuda.

  9. bee says:

    The PLP WANT this to be a distraction while they scupper their way into gaming. WAKE UP BERMUDA

  10. wahoo says:

    Why all the BIU propaganda?

    • Comfortably numb says:

      PLP and BIU are the same thing.

      • wahoo says:

        Oh that is a shame. How can can we be sure that we (the taxpayers) are represented fairly when the Union wants something if our union and government are the same people? And does this mean that the BIU also do not want SS marriage and if that is true how do unionized homosexuals feel about this topic?

  11. Aware says:

    I realize that pursuing this discussion was part of the PLP platform, but airing views and changing legislation are different things. Can we at least postpone this for a couple of years and focus on the more important societal and business issues we are facing (unemployment, gun crime, Paradise Papers). Even the most ant gay marriage people surely cannot conflate those urge issues with gay marriage? Maybe then the emotion will die down. Reversing this will be so bad for Bermuda internationally right now and does not need to happen.

  12. Infidelguy says:

    Minister Walton Brown contradicts himself right from the start when on one hand he says that the PLP does not take a stance on SSM, and then later states that if the private member’s bill to outlaw SSM were to be tabled, the government would basically have no other option but to pass it. WHAT! I have to break the bad news to you Mr. Brown but that would be the PLP government taking a position to OUTLAW SSM!!

    Do these politicians really think critically before opening that hollow space between their ears?

  13. aceboy says:

    So let me get this straight:

    Brown is saying that SS couples should be grateful that this bill is being proposed because the alternative, a Private Members Bill, will reduce SS rights to nil, which is also 100% fully supported by the government?

    Do you idiots even understand how twisted that logic is?

  14. wahoo says:

    What does President Obama think we should do?

  15. OMG says:

    Why don’t all you same sex couples stop complaining and organize a march. Stop hiding in the closets.

  16. Peter says:

    I see Brown is doing all the dirt as least we can blame him when it all goes south where is the premier ?

  17. Truth is killin’ me... says:

    Do as I say not as I do!

  18. Tired says:

    This all reminds me of Islamic states. Religion rules the life and the laws or everyone. Hypocrisy. They say the bible rules. There are many different versions of the bible and the verses can be interpreted various ways. It all depends on who you speak with. I remember how long it took to have the grocery stores open on Sundays.
    All the religious people didn’t want it because the bible says so. I can bet you none of the m go on Sunday? BS…
    The same as many don’t want casino’s here, although a lot go to Las Vegas. Hipocrits…

  19. spider says:

    Flip flops bill if he could reintroduce it would not have passed in its present form without having equal consideration for LBGTS. Assuming the governor was naive enough to pass it without consideration of the unfairness to LBGTS it would fly in the face of the decision of Charles Etta Simmons that there was discrimination towards same sex couples. This bill is in recognition of the unfairness of banninng marriage equality to same sex couples via flip flops bill. So whatever Walton says about fixing the bill so LBGTS have rights is a fallacy. LBGTS would have gotten those rights anyway via the courts. Effectively what Walton has done regardless of his political spin is basically remove marriage equality. His spin is complete BS.

  20. Brad Collins says:

    I just want to applaud the registrar general for doing her job regardless of her personal support or lack of support for gay marriage. She was so neutral I would not know either way what she personally supports. She married my partner and I this past Monday and was nothing short of fantastic and extremely professional. We appreciated her willingness to do her job with grace according to the current laws in place. Her office staff were also incredibly helpful as well. We paid a lawyer thousands of dollars to give us advice and to guide us because we were afraid of marrying in Bermuda especially as a Bermudian marrying a non Bermudian. We would have done better and saved a ton of money if we had known that the registrar general was kind and willing to do her job. I’m sad that the current climate overshadowed her office and made us question the ethics of everyone involved in our martial process. Our ideas couldn’t have been more wrong in regards to the registrar generals office.

    I am sad to be coming to the country during such a turbulent time but I am also happy that I was able to marry the love of my life and will be relocating to be with him. Just like a gentleman said during the town hall, we will fight harder for this marriage and respect it because it’s a right only recently given and now potentially being taken away.

    Thank you.

  21. Greg says:

    How can he say it’s a not a party bill Wayne Furbert is a member of the PLP last we checked just got promoted

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