Centre Ask Govt To Withdraw Section Provisions

December 6, 2017 | 10 Comments

Saying they are “dismayed” that after marital equality was recognized by the Supreme Court, the Government “now seeks to roll back on those rights,” the Centre for Justice said said that “rights conferred by the Human Rights Act 1981 cannot be taken away by any other Act of Parliament” and “we have asked Government to withdraw the provisions of section 48[2] of the Bill.”

centre for justice Bermuda TC Dec 6 2017

Domestic Partnerships Act To Be Debated In House

The Centre’s comments follow after the Domestic Partnerships Act was tabled in the House of Assembly on November 24th, with the Bill set to be debated this Friday.

The Bill will essentially replace same-sex marriage — which has been legal since a Supreme Court decision in May 2017 — with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Last month, Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said that “we are at this point legislatively because we have a rift in our community between two competing positions,” and there was a “very high 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.”

Centre Of Justice Comments

“The Domestic Partnership Bill 2017 seeks to, inter alia, provide for the formalization and registration of a relationship between adult couples to be known as a domestic partnership,” the Centre said.

“This, in itself, is a lawful objective, however the Bill also purports to prohibit marriage between same sex couples by seeking to override the decision of Simmons, J in the case of Godwin & other –v the Registrar General & Other [2017 SC [BDA] 36 Civ [5 May 2017] [the “Godwin decision”].

“Had the Bill been introduced prior to the Godwin decision, Centre for Justice would have applauded it for being forward thinking especially since it applies to all couples.

“Centre for Justice is dismayed that, full rights associated with marital equality having been recognized by the Supreme Court of Bermuda, the Government now seeks to roll back on those rights.

“Any rights conferred by the Human Rights Act 1981 cannot be taken away by any other Act of Parliament. To that end, we have asked Government to withdraw the provisions of section 48[2] of the Bill.

Screenshot showing part of Section 48 of the Bill

Application of Human Rights Act 1981 4

“Regarding the legal status of a same sex couple’s marriage if they had married outside Bermuda prior to the Godwin decision, we have sought the advice of Queen’s Counsel who has advised that following the Godwin decision, all such marriages became lawful in Bermuda.

“Therefore, we join the Human Rights Commission in their recommendation that the “window” of the validity of same sex marriages outside Bermuda be extended to cover all same sex marriages prior to the commencement of the Domestic Partnership Act 2017.”

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Comments (10)

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  1. Cow Polly says:

    So if same sex marriages are going to be recognised in Bermuda prior to the Domestic Partnership Bill 2017, why do we need a Domestic Partnership Bill? It seems a bit irrelevant to me and every other forward thinking human being!

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      Have you not been listening? Gay people are not deserving of the same rights that I am and there is a “rift in the community” that the Government wants to appease.

    • Athena says:

      You’ve put it nicely and all forward thinking persons would agree!

  2. clearasmud says:

    “Regarding the legal status of a same sex couple’s marriage if they had married outside Bermuda prior to the Godwin decision, we have sought the advice of Queen’s Counsel who has advised that following the Godwin decision, all such marriages became lawful in Bermuda.

    Queens Counsel often have differing opinions so this isn’t much of an argument.

  3. Curious says:

    Thank you for your advocacy Centre for Justice. I join in your dismay by the concept of the Domestic Partnership Bill 2017 scheduled to be tabled in the House on Friday.

    We are a complex community that continues to struggle with equal rights, diversity and inclusion.

    Let’s give more people, like our seniors, more rights.

  4. aceboy says:

    This whole sorry saga is tiresome. Let gay people get married ffs. What harm can that possibly be to anyone?

    • PBanks says:

      I’ve heard there are six couples thus far. And the country is still in one piece.

  5. junior burchall says:

    Imagine…if, come Friday, Bermuda’s bisexual, gay and lesbian population unanimously said “Eff it!” and started naming all of the undercover folks hiding behind the church, marriage, kids and braying declarations of homophobia – y’know, the ones who use their badges of assumed heterosexuality to cast aspersions on those who are courageous enough to be themselves in the light of day?

    Imagine…..

    [NOTE: methinks that such a disclosure would shatter a cartload of heteronormative delusions. Many believe that their father/ mother/ son/ uncle/ daughter/ fiance/ boyfriend is 247% straight, because they are openly anti-gay, or devout christians, or known busymen, or are part of MOB, 42 or Parkside, for e.g. But alas, the unvarnished truth tells a decidedly different tale.]

    Where Gary Simons (aka “Bermuda’s Eddie Long”) at? The good Pastor seems to have fallen off of late. Guess da Lawd does work in mysterious ways, huh? Selah.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Imagine if tomorrow everyone who was gay or bisexual woke up blue or green ?

      Major shock waves throughout Bermuda .

    • aceboy says:

      The PLP, who are supporters of PM generally and who have a Private Members’s Bill sitting as a threat to remove all rights of gays, have at least two pretty openly known members. A main leader of PM has recently fallen from grace after having been found having an affair with another man while MARRIED to a woman, which is hardly evidence of someone who can speak to preserving marriage.

      It is a complete joke.

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