House Passes Domestic Partnerships Bill

December 9, 2017 | 55 Comments

The Domestic Partnerships Act passed in the House of Assembly last night [Dec 8], with the Bill seeking to replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Same sex marriage became legal following a Supreme Court decision in May 2017, when the court ruled in favour of Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche, saying “the common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.”

Audio of the vote count:

However the Bill seeks to change the legal status, with the Domestic Partnerships Act [PDF] stating, “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.”

Speaking at a press conference 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,” one in support, and the other opposed.

The Minister said that 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” and the “majority of MPs would have supported that Bill.”

“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,” the Minister said.

The hours long debate followed after the Casino Gaming Amendment Bill 2017 was passed, and began with remarks from Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown, with OBA MP Patricia Gordon Pamplin the second to speak on the Bill.

PLP MP Wayne Furbert, who once brought a Private Members Bill seeking to deem marriage as between a man and a woman, then spoke, saying he will support the Bill, as although is not everything he wants, it removes same sex marriage.

Calling it a “flawed and very shameful Bill,” OBA MP Jeff Baron noted that 26 nations have made same sex marriage, and said not one country has ever “rebanned it.”

PLP MP Lawrence Scott was next to speak, saying the Preserve Marriage side doesn’t think Bill goes far enough, and the LGBTQ side also doesn’t think Bill goes far enough, as the Bill is right in the middle and it seeks to find balance.

Deputy OBA Leader Leah Scott said she is against the Bill, not as she supports same sex marriage, but as it takes away a right that already exists.

Deputy Premier Walter Roban told the House they are trying to find balance, and said the fact that both sides are not completely happy with it shows a medium has been found.

Former Premier Craig Cannonier said they must be careful how they proceed as Parliamentarians and also noted that less young people, in general, are choosing marriage, while PLP MP Michael Scott said he understands that it is a compromise but his conscience did not support it.

OBA MP Trevor Moniz says he agrees with others who said it would be wrong to go backwards, while PLP MP Neville Tyrrell described it as middle ground, and said that he supports it.

PLP MP Derrick Burgess said the Bill is not all that he wanted, but he thinks it is the best solution at this time and “will support the Bill as I believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

OBA MP Cole Simons says he will not be supporting the legislation as he has evolved, while OBA MP Sylvan Richards says he will support the Bill, as it is “not perfect, but achieves what needs to be achieved at this point in time.”

OBA MP Dr Grant Gibbons said he can not support the Bill. “I believe it is regressive,” he said. “We will be the only country in the world which has rescinded marriage equality.”

PLP MP Scott Simmons also spoke to the Bill saying it was “imperfect” but the best option at the time, and Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden was the last to speak during the main debate.

A vote related to the procedure of the Bill passed in the House by a margin of 24 – 10, with voting seeing all PLP MPs vote yes, and most OBA MPs vote no, with two exceptions; the OBA’s Craig Cannonier and Sylvan Richards both voted yes.

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  1. John says:

    they should all hang their heads in shame , funny how a little but of money and political power gets folks playing judge jury and sometime God the sins of the past repeating itsself , history does repeat itself “………..you can get on the bus but you have to sit at the back .

    • Darkstar says:

      Amazing the amount of politicians who have secret lives and practice the opposite of what they preach! Regressive Labor Party!

      • bee says:

        so Michael Scott said he did not support the bill and yet he voted for it! WTH?! The PLP is now Bermuda’s first Fascist Party. Bermuda is over. Sell everything, pack up and go to a proper country before it’s too late…. oh buy wait… tht’s exactly wht they want you to do.

        • Wtf says:

          Cowards, those who voted for the bill saying that it was better than the alternative bill tha WF would submit. Absolute cowards. The PLP could have removed WF or simply voted against that bill also.

          Politicians showing their true gutless selves and attempting to justify it. Lowlife cowards skulking in excuses.

        • Koolaid says:

          You don’t understand the terms you use.

    • White Cedar says:

      You might want to hang your head in shame for that ungodly act that you and another man are performing in bed. Absolutely sick. Bermudians can’t take you seriously because none of you ever organize a protest. ..2 busy hiding in the closet except for a few like Mike Hinds who’s not afraid to speak up for your cause.

      Thank you OBA for not passing this when you was Government. Thank you former Premier Dunkely.

      • Wtf says:

        What has that got to do with equal rights. The vote took away equal rights, What people get up to in their bedroom will not change because of this vote. Park your ignorant self already.

      • bdaboy says:

        “You might want to hang your head in shame for that ungodly act that you and another man are performing in bed. Absolutely sick.”

        What act?
        You seem to have intimate details, do tell.

        I’m assuming you’ve never had sex with anyone, otherwise your statement sounds like you’re just jealous of others who love each other.
        You must live a pathetically sad life.

      • Mike Hind says:

        First off, if you can’t get my name right, please keep it out of your mouth.
        Secondly, you have NO idea what courage is. You denounce people for hiding – hypocritically where hiding under your own white hood of anonymity – yet you spout the same hate that keeps people in the closet, demanding everyone follow the “godly” ways of your choice of religion,
        You support treating Bermudians as second class citizens yet don’t have the courage to stand up and offer a single reason that you are willing to defend to do so.

        You don’t get to talk about people hiding when you have absolutely NO integrity yourself!

      • William says:

        All my straight friend boast about their alternative sex positions open your mind fool

  2. Young says:

    Well this sucks

  3. N Jane Goksel says:

    And back in time we go. What’s next? Women’s vote?

  4. Congratulations Bermuda says:

    We trampled on human rights but hey we vmcan all go out and smoke a bunch of weed.

    Our priorities are spot on.

    Well done to you Bermuda government. The oracles of wisdom.

    Lmao!!!

    Blessings abound brethren.

  5. Itstoolate says:

    It is a disappointing yes…but at least here, versus countries under the Sharia doctrine, Gays are not thrown off of the highest buildings one could find…pick your battles.

    I am saying it could be worse. You are not that hard done by here. The war for your “rights” to “marriage” is not over yet.

    There are very influential organizations on your side. How else would one explain an issue affecting such a small minority getting the political traction and attention it does…all across “the west”

    I think next we need to focus on Gender Pronouns…I see many Sirs who would prefer to be referred to as zirs…or zims or shims!

    • Mike Hind says:

      Wait… so… because it’s worse elsewhere people should just shut up and accept it when their access to rights is taken away?

      Seriously? That’s one of the most ridiculous arguments I’ve ever read!

      • gotcha says:

        I think they meant for it to be so…to see who was most easily triggered. You did not disappoint Mike.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Triggered? I don’t think you know what that word means.
          Have you been reading the alt-right trolling handbook again?

  6. bee says:

    NOT proud to be Bermudian today. In fact, TPTB should cut Flurbie out of that video. He does not deserve to be in it.

    • How do they look at themselves in the mirror says:

      We all know that some of our politicians are directly impacted by this.

      How can you sell your souls and personal integrity out in a hypocritical fashion to pander to a base of voters.

      That is just very sad and speaks to those politicians integrity. How can we respect them if they have no self respect?

  7. Yahoo says:

    I would say this is a joke but it is not funny.

  8. Kevin says:

    I will no longer be able to say with pride I am Bermudian…because even though i didn’t vote for them I unfortunately will be labelled because i live here
    The Dictatorship continues ….but fear not all of you PLP supporters you will get exactly what you voted for

  9. George says:

    The PLP are no better than those that imposed racial discrimimination rules against blacks in the past, look at yourselves in the mirror with shame, you are no better and will be judged by god for this in the same way that those evil racists were judged by god.

  10. One Who Escaped says:

    What a sad, ignorant, archaic group of people we have running this country! It’s a dark day for Bermuda. What rights will they strip away next?

  11. Family Man says:

    I wonder how quickly the cruise lines Princess, P&O, and Cunard will change registries from Bermuda to Malta.

    Having to cancel gay weddings that they’ve already advertised and booked must be hugely embarrassing to them, not to mention costly.

  12. Reality Check says:

    While I personally think it is a disgrace that this island has back-tracked on the issue of marriage equality , I think the PLP government deserves a fair measure of credit for establishing legal protections for the LGBTQ community , when others in their own party and across Bermuda would like to see same sex couples have no rights at all . More and more countries around the world have chosen to correct this form of discrimination by embracing full marriage equality . One day Bermuda will too .

    • Wtf says:

      Taking away equality rights is disgusting, attempts to water down their evil is unacceptable.

    • Mike Hind says:

      They already had legal protections. The PLP didn’t establish anything.
      Don’t believe the spin.

    • DKC says:

      Wait…how does the PLP get credit for removing rights that the Court says LGBT people already have. I hate to hear the word ‘ backwards ‘ being used in relation to Bermuda but this word is certainly appropriate now.

  13. Willard says:

    Wake up folks we are turning into weed island by the minute

    • Theone says:

      And what’s your point. I’m tired of people like throughing weed in the conv. Weed will save this island and its goin to happen and there is nothing no one goin to do stop it get it through ya head.

  14. Roger says:

    Wow. Just, wow.

    Bermuda is really circling the drain. I’m embarrassed and really sad right now. I feel guilty that I’m able to be married to the person I love, but some of my friends and neighbors are not allowed to. Shameful.

    Spin it however u want PLP, whatever u need to do to help u sleep at night, but u should hang your heads in shame. You lot are nasty, mean and heartless. Shame on all of you.

  15. Wtf says:

    The PLP and 2 OBA ministers who voted for to take away rights from a minority group are scum, they have no conscious.they are the lowest of the low on this planet. Pure Evil runs through their veins. How could not a single member of the PLP vote against this bill.

  16. William says:

    I mean you have to wonder for a country where the speaker of the house thinks gays are wrong the level of ignorance is beyond believable …meanwhile child services sorts out the horrors the heterosexual world ….. I guess he is dancing with his legal spliff today ….

  17. bdaboy says:

    “How could not a single member of the PLP vote against this bill.”

    They’re privileged, they’ve never had to endure discrimination like gay people have. They don’t know what it’s like, so can’t put themselves in my shoes.

  18. Curious says:

    Bermuda has created a very challenging path to broad Diversity and Inclusion on our island with the passage of this legislation. At the end of the day, all our politicians will be judged simply by how they voted to take away a right – not what they said or intended to do.

    Our courts Giveth and our politicians Taketh away….

  19. Willard says:

    This will cause resentment in the community don’t expect ur favourite gay to be as perky to your pandering

  20. Miguelito says:

    Very sad, but, hey…it is the PLP. What fools!

  21. DKC says:

    In actual fact this partnership bill even further whittles away the sanctity of marriage because now heterosexual couples have an alternate Option. How very ambarassing this is for Bermudians who would like to be recognised as modern and progressive when the whole world is watching. Kudos to Leah for speaking plain English. Where did these people come from and why could they not control that one member? In church every Sunday judging others and doing this and that on Monday. Ummmmm

  22. frank says:

    Bermuda is not the only island that does not have ssm a lot of islands to are south don’t and they get more tours and more visitors than Bermuda
    as long as Bermuda has a very large Christian population ssm will not
    happen

    • Mike Hind says:

      Maybe so, but we’re the first to have it and then take it away for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
      SSM already happened. There’s no “it will not happen”. It did already. We currently have it until this bill gets signed into law.

  23. steve says:

    In Browns defence, he claims he had to do it otherwise the guy sitting next to him would bring a bill shoving the gay community back in the closet and slamming the door. And all the PLP would have voted for it.Wait a second, these are our leaders? like..of a country? WTH?

    • Mike Hind says:

      So, instead of fighting him on that and demanding integrity from his party, he folded and took rights away anyway.

  24. Zevon says:

    Religious people. They make you puke don’t they. They’d rather we lived in the stone age.

    • gotcha says:

      Back then you could be stoned just for looking funny and who would care? Toughen up snowflake. Bermuda is very comfortable for you. You know you have nowhere better to go. FO.

  25. D says:

    It’s all about the money not the need that people deserve. No one is asking anyone to be gay. I am happy that people find love. To judge someone on their sexual preference is very sick. I have many gay friends they are the most loving caring people I have ever met. This is all about the government not wanting to loose their pay checks not about the people. Get it together bermuda we can and we deserve better than this.

  26. D says:

    And further to that why should we care about whose in bed with who??? They are people that deserve respect just like anyone else!!!

  27. Bermudianabroad says:

    Why does Bermuda keep going backwards in so many ways?

    It once was a Leader.

    Go figure. Backward Bermuda! The future?

  28. William says:

    This is bigger than people know right now it’s the first major miss step in the the unprogressive dictatorship for their own greed for money and power ,but we all know it will come to an end just like the last time ,they are the same as before they can’t help themselves . let’s hope all those narrow minded church pensioners are still alive in 10years to vote them back in as the rest of us will have moved on to better things hope and our lives. We are here we are queer get over it get used to it .
    LOVE WILL WIN …… dont just read your bibles ,live the true word ”

    News flash there will never be a flip flop statue and all the weed in the world won’t make bermuda a better place

  29. Cedar Stump says:

    Will the Governor sign this into Law ? He is under instruction from London……so…..

  30. New Day says:

    Lol, angry lbgtabc ppl here.

    Just take the rights and leave the word marriage alone.

  31. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    WARNING !

    What is happening here? Is this the Two Bermuda’s they were talking about ?

    Let me tell you are are more than two Bermuda’s.

    I ask you, is winning an election a loss or a gain ? When we need every man woman and child to pull their weigh whilethe Government needs to trim the fat.

    Young people, educate your selves tomorrow will not come easy.

    Bermuda, since the AC, has become a world player sooner or later it was going to happen , they saw blue water and called it paradise, we are being watched, for the slightest chink in our financial armour . Bermuda is not a revolving door.

    The hackers and other Governments have Bermuda in their sights , dont you just HATE that.

    We are a dependant nation, we rely on others from over there for our well being and our very survival , the national debt is beyond reason and they still want to borrow more that is not trimming the fat.

    Across the pond the money lender wants to take food off of your table.

    Have you not noticed there is alot of HATE going on in Bermuda some people here find ways to virtually HATE every thing they see an touch including one another in the same family, for some too much is never enough, greed and jeolocy has become a way of life, there is a mean visiouse streak out on our roads , no body want’s to take their turn.

    We need just to get along, digging up the past is not moving forward .

    There is alot of jobs here more than 2,000,put your i cell phones away, and learn a skill.

    Never put your hands in another mans pocket.

    Changing holiday dates is not a solution either ,we have business to attend to, vistors come here and are told the place is on hoilday , not good !

    We need to look with in our selves for the solutions .

    What is missing , is it TRUST?

  32. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    Have figured out how they are going to disolve their associations . Who gets the money
    Can they maintain kids.
    How do we address them ? yes sir ,no sir, three bags full sir.

  33. Herma Hudek says:

    Leave it as domestic partners…..Some of your businesses need protected from them……Be fair……….Yes. Ban Gay marriage. They are causing so much trouble. They want to sue people if they do not get their way..Then they want states and citizens to pay for children to change their sex…………..Now they want to strip parents of their parental rights….Proposed Education Regulation 225 Will Allow Delaware Students To “Self-Identify” Their Gender And Race Without Parent’s Knowledge Or Consent
    Written by Nicole Theis on Nov. 1st, 2017, Updated: Nov 17, 2017…….https://www.delawarefamilies.org/blog-regulation-255….https://www.delawarefamilies.org/blog-regulation-255

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