FCO: Disappointed, Matter For Bermuda Govt

December 18, 2017 | 60 Comments

“While the UK Government is disappointed with the implications of this Bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda Government acting within the terms of the Bermuda Constitution and in accordance with international law,” the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] said in regards to the Domestic Partnerships Act.

FCO statement on Bill Dec 2017

The Domestic Partnerships Act passed in the House of Assembly and then passed in the Senate, with the Domestic Partnerships Act [PDF] designed to replace same-sex marriages with a domestic partnership which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Having been approved in both the House [24-10] and Senate [8-3], the Bill heads to the UK-appointed Governor for assent, which is normal procedure and generally seen as a formality, however it has been a topic of speculation, and the U.S. based Human Rights Campaign has urged the Governor to “veto” the legislation, and the UK’s Daily reported that British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is “under pressure” to veto it.

Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown told ZBM that he “expects the Governor will sign it,” while Premier David Burt told Bernews, “I expect that the Governor will ratify the will of the Parliament.”

In regards to our queries, an FCO spokesperson said: “The UK Government is a proud supporter of LGBT rights and continues to support same sex marriage.

“While the UK Government is disappointed with the implications of this Bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda Government acting within the terms of the Bermuda Constitution and in accordance with international law.”

During our recent interview, the Premier said that same-sex couples, after the passage of the Domestic Partnership Act, will “enjoy more legal benefits than they previously had.”

Premier Burt said, “What happened previously before is that, for instance, same-sex couples did not have rights to pensions, did not have rights to survivorship benefits, hospital visitation, health insurance rights, prior to the passage of the Domestic Partnership Act. They now have those benefits, which they did not previously have.

“Though the judge said that same-sex couples were entitled to marry, the judge cannot give same-sex couples legal benefits,” the Premier said.

Premier Burt said, “We can understand that different people may have different opinions on this, but the fact is, under the laws of which Bermuda is ascribed to, same-sex marriage is not a human right under the European Convention of Human Rights.”

We asked Mark Pettingill, the lawyer who represented the same sex couple in their legal case which resulted in same sex marriage being legal, about the issue of rights with marriage, and he explained that as some Acts, such as the Pensions Act, used language such as ‘man’ and ‘wife’, the Acts would need amending.

Mr Pettingill added, “But that could have been accomplished as indicated by Justice Simmons in her ruling without removing the right to same sex marriage.”

According to this website, same-sex couples can currently marry in 25 nations and in 42 other jurisdictions around the world.

The areas within the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies that are listed as having same sex marriage are England, Wales, Scotland, Akrotiri & Dhekelia, British Indian Ocean Territory, Pitcairn Islands, Ascension Island, Isle of Man, British Antarctic Territory, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Falklands, Tristan da Cunha and Alderney.

The areas within the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies which do not have same sex marriage are listed as Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Montserrat, Northern Ireland, Saint Helena, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Sark, which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

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  1. Sorry Sir says:

    So there you have it. That settles it.

    No more talk of independence. If the UK didn’t do anything to abolish conscription and they’re doing nothing about SSM. The excuse that “We need to be able to make our own decisions so we need to go independent” is now an invalid argument.

  2. Sign the document.

  3. Oh Boy says:

    This will seriously backfire on Bermuda if it gets signed into Law….Does it really mean that much to you what someone else does with their own life? This bill doesn’t get rid of the LGBT, it just takes rights away do marry….Is it seriously worth it? Seriously….

    • OH WELL says:

      I guess they can’t get married at these locations either.

      “The areas within the United Kingdom, British Overseas Territories, and Crown Dependencies which do not have same sex marriage are listed as Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Jersey, Montserrat, Northern Ireland, Saint Helena, South Georgia & South Sandwich Islands, Turks & Caicos Islands, and Sark, which is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

      • Sorry Sir says:

        Which would have been an opportunity for Bermuda as there would be a lack of competition.

        • Antlee says:

          Yes, because same-sex couples are preparing to flood the place as they’ve been pining for a tropical island to make it legal. I wonder who actually believes that foolishness? We’ve had 6 or 7 same-sex marriages since May, and I believe most or all of them involved a local.

  4. Mike says:

    Sign the document. Then let those who have issue with it have their day in court. Let the law decide – yet again.

  5. Warwick West says:

    and……………..there you have it folks !!

    Nice cop out FCO.

    So the Governor is free to sign and lets let the chips fall where they may.

    LGBT Community – this particular battle has been lost but not, not, not the war.

  6. Rocky5 says:

    The PLP – “TWO Bermuda’s” really taking shape – LGBT Community you’re NOW in the 2nd Class Group!!

  7. Also, when Marc Bean and at opposition members, at that time, left the beautiful isles of Bermuda and went to the British Government concerning matters of bad treatment by the notorious O.B.A.Government,were turned away and had to come back to Bermuda to cope with the oba’s nonsense and foolishness. Now, person at the top has an issue with the P.L.P.’s stand…..Humph…..

    Mark Pettingill was the lawyer and at that time,and an oba politician,who told Bermudians POINT BLANK, in an article, about 4 years ago, if “WE” did not like what was happening under the oba, “WE” could leave.
    Interesting how the tides of life change quickly.

  8. Sandgrownan says:

    I hate being Bermudian and I hate my fellow bermudians.

    • Mother Theresa says:

      I get it.

        • sandgrownan says:

          Trust me, I will. But I’m going to trash the place as much as I can on my way out.

          • Typical Post- European exodus strategy.

          • THIS PERSON ABOVE IS A TRUE FOOL says:

            That blog shows how silly you are as a person. You probably received your status through a Bermudian Spouse after 10 years. You don’t really know what’s it like to grow up here. We all may not get our own way but true Bermudians black, white, heterosexual or homosexual stick together when times are tough.

            At the end of the day Bermuda is still one of a few top places to live in.

            • sandgrownan says:

              Nah..Bermudians are jerks. Outwardly nice and friendly, but hypocritical and regressive behind closed doors. They need to be constantly called out on it.

        • PBanks says:

          Come on OJ, when the OBA won in 2012 you were probably angry at a bunch of Bermudians too, but did leaving your country come to mind?

  9. Curious says:

    In the early 1950′s a group of socially conscious Bermudians wrote what has been termed “the secret document” An Analysis of Bermuda’s Social Ills. It had three main headings:

    -The Limited Franchise
    -Segregation
    -Discrimination

    Two are active, alive and being played out today with the approval of our Domestic Partnership Act – Discrimination and Segregation

    A new chapter of Bermuda’s social ills is currently being written by our Government and it contains fragmenting words like repeal of marriage equality, regressive, discrimination, segregation of same sex couples from the term marriage and thus the creation of a Bermudian second class citizen.

    Bermuda, we are not moving towards the high ground of Diversity and Inclusion with this legislation we are going low.

    It fails to meet the criteria of respect for and appreciation of sexual orientation as outlined below:

    In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means respect for and appreciation of differences in ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, education, and religion.

    Our LGBTQ community is now ranked on a Bermuda Diversity and Inclusion Scale and that ranking is to second class citizen status. It came as a result of our local politicians and their voting is a matter of public record – you can look it up.

    These individual politicians alone carry the distinction of adding to our Bermuda brand the title of first country ever to take away Marriage Equality.

    Our international tourism and business competitors must be enjoy watching us snatch defeat from the jaws of victory – with the recent global release of our Paradise Papers followed quickly by the first ever repeal of Marriage Equality.

  10. Sandgrownan says:

    I kinda done with the Bermudian manner – outwardly friendly and hospitable, but some of us are a bunch of a****** underneath. Sick of it.

    I’m going to call out every piece of stupidity and ignorance I hear from a Bermudian, to their face and make them defend it.

    I think i’m Going to be busy.

    • Infidelguy says:

      I agree with you.

      You definitely should call out stupidity and ignorance and make them defend it. Be careful though because when someone people get backed into a ideological corner, they tend to want to strike out at you physically.

      You will be busy. LOL!

  11. facts of the rock says:

    The Governor still has not signed,personally I doubt he will,it would end his career.

  12. Alvin Williams says:

    Bermuda is not a gay nation; but some are hoping it is a gay colony if the British governor don’t sign this bill,

    • Mike Hind says:

      This is ridiculous. No one is trying to make bermuda a “gay colony” or trying to turn anyone gay.
      They just want equality. Something you seem to be against…

      • Rasta says:

        Mike go on and try and get married in Jamaica.

      • I heart 441 says:

        Mike Hind, all your points are invalid as you could care less the well being of Bermudians, no matter their race or age!

        • Will says:

          How does the discussion of gay marriage and Mike supporting it mean he doesnt care of the wellbeing of bermudians..in what way will ssm harm the wellbeing of anyone!

        • Mike Hind says:

          As usual, the cowardly bigots hiding under their hoods resort to personal attacks and lies instead of actually addressing the point.
          The reason why is obvious… their position is weak and pathetic and indefensible and deep down they know it.

          Nothing in this guy’s post is true or based on anything other than a puerile tantrum.

          “I heart 441” can be dismissed as the ridiculous coward that he is.

    • sandgrownan says:

      “Doesn’t sign”, not “don’t sign”.

      Go back to bed.

  13. Kevin says:

    Listen six months in and they cant get buses on the road what chance do they have in dealing with a real life issue ….They have been clueless since jump and continue …..Bermuda ….is another World …..and we will be …the PLP will sink this ship ..first stage devaluation of the Bermuda Dollar ….I didn’t vote them in

  14. spider says:

    As in California when the ban on same sex marriage was overturned the same will likely happened here because the law serves no purpose other then to prevent ss couples being able to call themselves married and having the same dignity and respect as married couples.

  15. Islander says:

    If it was the other way around and OBA had passed something, we would of already saw the ppl marching, screaming making Bermuda look like a 3rd world country like they always do. They’re gonna see soon what they’ve created.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      This is a new Bermuda, one where the PLP’s rent-a-crowd is not necessary.

  16. Infidelguy says:

    Premier Burt states that same-sex couples will “enjoy more legal benefits than they previously had.”

    Wait a minute. Previously they were able to get married. I guess less more?

    What a bunch of Wack Jobs!

    LOL!

    • bee says:

      Burt isn’t as smart as he thinks he is. what they have done is in fact increase the options for heteros to two and removed an option for SS couples. and THAT is not legal.

      • Infidelguy says:

        Exactly!

        Heterosexual couples now have the option to either get married or enter into a domestic partnership; but SS couples can only have a domestic partnership. How fair is that?

        Everyone should have the right to choose between marriage and a domestic partnership.

        PLP, you can keep talking your nonsense about a “Fairer and Better Bermuda”. We’re not all a bunch of fools! Some of us are but not all of us! Take the Progressive part out of your party name because as far as I’m concerned what you did was REGRESSIVE not PROGRESSIVE!!!

  17. Aware says:

    The key point here is that the question of independence has been avoided which is the essential point at this time. I know it is no consolation to the LGBT community, but this is the first step on the road. If this Bill had been passed before the Court ruling, there would have been celebrations. We are in a halfway house now on this issue. Let’s park it and turn to some others and come back when the time is right. The old, church-bound community are going to be in the minority before long.

    • Infidelguy says:

      The time will never be right for some of the members of the religious community. I only wish some of the more liberal minded christian folks would come out and say that they don’t have a problem with SS marriage. I know they are out there but too scared to speak up because of fear being ostracized by the more conservative Christians.

      I really hope that Mark Pettingill challenges this backward legislation.

  18. Joe Bloggs says:

    This is the perfect situation for the PLP Government.

    If the Governor signs the Bill then the PLP will say it has been vindicated. If the Governor refuses his assent, the PLP Government will complain that England is dictating our society and laws. That will lead to a call for independence which we all know is the ultimate goal of the PLP (even though not part of this year’s manifesto).

    If the Governor signs the Bill and it is afterward struck down as unconstitutional, the PLP Government can say that the Governor took advice from London on the Bill before he assented, so it is the fault of the UK Government, not the PLP Government.

    What a perfect political situation!

  19. Disappointment says:

    I am for equality and recognition of all our differences.

    The Governor should sign this piece of legislation into law not because it is right but because to not sign it would lead Bermuda down the road to independence. Bermuda is not ready to be independent. The cost of being independent would be far greater than the status quo. The national debt would become something of a bigger monster (well if Bermuda could access international capital) and likely doom this nice island to generational recession.

    The DPA 2017 is a piece of legislation that I hope stains those who proposed and approved this through the lower house and Senate. To actively go about removing SSM is wrong. While to Premier may be correct in the rights afforded same-sex couples under the DPA 2017 surely changing the existing legislation for full recognition of SSM would have been as direct a route as this piece of legislative loo roll.

    Elected government may be a popularity contest but the role of government is to approve not only popular legislation but to seek out and bring about changes for society as a whole. This includes minority groups. Just because it is not popular does not and should not mean that rights are stripped away.

    The government should have taken a pause and brought about the full SSM rights through the existing legislation and embarked on a fresh and new era for this island. Just doing the same olde thing will not make Bermuda better. For Bermuda to grow it needs a change of mindset.

  20. Jennifer says:

    Wow. You obviously don’t know Mike.

  21. Coffee says:

    Sometimes the tail actually gets to wag the dog …

    Sometimes the Rainbow Alliance gets rained on ….

    There are two Bermudas … Not three

    The PLP stands strong …

    The NO BA used the courts to do what they didn’t have the guts to do … Grant or Deny SSM

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