British MP Questions Domestic Partnership Bill

January 17, 2018

The Bermudian Parliament is “begging the Foreign Secretary to allow it to cancel same-sex marriage, which is an entirely retrograde step,” British MP Chris Bryant said while speaking in the British Parliament, with the MP asking will the UK Minister make “sure that the Government tell the Bermudian Parliament very firmly ‘no way, we are sticking with same-sex marriage?”

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.

After it passed in the Senate on December 13th, 2017, the Bill then went 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 in this case, and as of this time, we are still waiting on official word on assent.

According to the British Parliament Hansard, Mr. Bryant said, “Will the Minister make sure that the Foreign Secretary comes to the House to explain his policy on Bermuda?

“Bermuda was required to introduce same-sex marriage last summer, which it has now done. But six months later, the Bermudian Parliament is begging the Foreign Secretary to allow it to cancel same-sex marriage, which is an entirely retrograde step.

“Six couples have already been married, and they are to be unmarried, which surely even this Government must think is wrong. Will the Minister make sure that the Government tell the Bermudian Parliament very firmly, ‘No way, we are sticking with same-sex marriage?”

In response, Government Whip Paul Maynard said, “The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, and I will make sure the Leader of the House communicates it to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to try to get him the answer he seeks.”

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] has previously issued a statement saying, “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.”

The most recent statement from Government House said, “The Governor is continuing to consider the Domestic Partnership Bill in accordance with section 35 [2] of the Constitution. In considering the Bill he is taking legal advice as appropriate.“

The Bill passed in the Senate over a month ago, however Bermuda’s Constitution does not stipulate a time frame for assenting to Bills.

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Comments (31)

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  1. SAME LOVE says:

    There is NO DOUBT that to reverse Marriage Equality is a retrograde step. Indeed a backwards discriminatory move.
    What side of history do we want to be on? Surely not the side of reversing a right given by the Supreme Court to a minority whop have been discriminated against for way too long. Homophobia coupled with some religious discrimination has caused the gay community way too much pain for way too long.
    That a Government, who labels itself as progressive, would reverse rights on a minority LGBT group is indeed tragic.
    Fortunately “time” will be on the side of justice. Indeed just last week two significant developments took place:

    January 10th 2018
    Inter-American Court of Human Rights recognizes Same Sex Marriage
    This announcement affects all countries who are signatories including:
    Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia, Barbados, Venezuela, Bolivia, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Uraguay, Paraguay, Colombia

    January 11th 2018
    European Court Official
    “It is no longer appropriate to follow the case law definition of marriage as “a union between two persons of the opposite sex”.

    Indeed many Civil Rights groups have lobbied the Foreign Office and the Governor of Bermuda, along with several global celebrities.

    May Equality and Justice prevail.
    “It is no longer appropriate to follow the case law definition of marriage as “a union between two persons of the opposite sex” – ECHR

    • Mother Theresa says:


    • Ashley M says:

      The Civil Rights people are idiots if they seriously think Bermuda’s laws are a threat to gay people. We’re not the worst country when it comes to that. Why no protesting the other countries? But they’ll protest the country that doesn’t kill gay people, that doesn’t lock them up, that doesn’t harm them, that has little to no hate crimes against them. OK……I have no respect for people like that. They’re only encouraging those that were against SSM to be anti-gay, not all of them were, just an fyi.

      • Reuben says:

        So having read all your bs posts I’m going to have to answer back.

        First and foremost the “We’re not the worst” defense is stupid and ignorant, its like say “Well we’re not the worst when it comes to the rights of women so why should they should be happy with what they have.

        Being against SSM is already to be anti-gay so again your wrong there again and if you doubt that change if from gay to black or women or any other minority group and see how it sounds “I’m denying the rights of interracial couples to get married but that doesn’t mean I’m against people being in interracial relationship.”

        Bermuda doesn’t lock us up any more cause we managed to get the laws changed, it harms us to deny us the same rights as every one else, and there have been hate crimes but you haven’t heard about them cause until sexual orientation was add to the HRA it wasn’t wasn’t considered a hate crime and in some cause when we reported them to the authorities we got told tough it was because of ‘chosen lifestyle’.

  2. Johnny Appleseed says:

    All God’s children are created equal. ONE LOVE all the way.

  3. Andrew says:

    Bermuda is another world! smh

  4. Cow Polly says:

    Interesting development. We in Bermuda are so concerned that if we shout too loudly about SSM it will give the Government the excuse to go to an independence vote. However, the UK Government is not so concerned and are sticking to the principal of what is right. I am ashamed that I selfishly put my own desires ahead of human rights. I now support the rejection of this bill by the Governor and if means an independence vote, then so be it.

    • Jus' Askin' says:

      Not A Human Right

      • Cow Polly says:

        Says who?

        I believe it is a human right to marry who you want to. Anyone who pays taxes should reap the benefits provided by marriage.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Equal access to rights is a human right…

        Oh wait… you won’t be responding to this, will you?

        Never do when shown to be wrong…

        Just like the rest of the bigots.

        Shame on you. You’re bad for our country.

    • Ashley M de Sa says:

      I don’t want to go independent, and I’n not against SSM, but the fact that the UK government might interfere with us and how our country is run, angers me enough to want Bermuda to go independent.

      • Reuben says:

        Shows your hate toward other people that you are willing to deny them he same rights as yourself

  5. margeret says:

    the Dumbestic partner thing was Mickey Mouse from the get go we all knew that, But the current government wants to discriminate to apply a feel good factor with their off kilter and don’t know what they want fan base…. move on please and man up to the real issues like …… jobs, sort out the roads of death and gang banger island ……….hello?

  6. Joe Bloggs says:

    Whilst I am aghast at the prospect of taking away the right of same sex couples to marry (or any other human right) in Bermuda, and the European Court of Justice is now of the opinion that the right to marry is no longer restricted to that between a man and a woman, I am equally concerned that any interference by London in Bermudian affairs will be the ammunition that Walton Brown and others will use to “throw off the shackles of colonialism” and make us independent and then the 51st state of the United States.

    • PBanks says:

      While I do agree that it is the perfect ammo to launch an independence campaign, I suspect there’s still too much public sentiment in retaining the status quo for it to be successful anytime soon. Are there enough PLP-leaning people that are willing to push for independence? It wouldn’t seem so at this current time.

      • SAME LOVE says:

        Justice and Equality should never be held to ransom.

    • Ashley M de Sa says:

      No, we can’t become part of the US, what would be the point of that??

  7. Silence Do Good says:

    Conspiracy Theory

    Ulterior motives are at play here. Just what the government wants is the UK to push back on anything so that they can rile their support base into an independence stance. Opening self-serving interest for unfettered corruption while the dollar tanks like Jamaica’s.

    Really we care that much what people do in their bedrooms. Welcome to commitment and pains of marriage with the self-righting mechanism of divorce. The LGBT XYZ community should have rights to be as miserable as the rest of us.

    I miss my dead husbands…

  8. Jus' Askin' says:

    So we Truly have No Say on “What We Want” :-(

    What is the point of a parliament here then?

    • SAME LOVE says:

      A parliament that legislates and treads on the rights of a minority…?
      Thank goodness for the courts, the Privy Council etc..
      Legislating against a minority…. thats ain’t nice.

    • Me says:

      The problem is that parliament wanted to be PLP on the issue senators did not do their global homework and voted on partylines as they are really PLP members never used their conscious minds they should all be fired
      Tell tale signs of disaster ahead as the DEBT is mounting and jobs are dissapearing fast you have all been duped

    • Ashley M de Sa says:

      The people only have power if the UK like it apparently. I’m not even against SSM, not the fact that most of my fellow citizens have said no to it and the UK stepping in angers me. Stuff like this is why we need to go to independent. No other country should have a say over what our own people have voted for.

      • Reuben says:

        The fact that you you said you would rather go independent then have SSM shows your against it. The true fact is that most of ‘your fellow’ citizens did even bother enough with the topic to come out and vote against it. Given that the England is the country that found this one why shouldn’t they have a say? why should people of this country be denied rights and privileges under the law??

      • Mike Hind says:

        “Most of [your] fellow citizens have said no to it”?

        When was this?

  9. Bermuda youth says:

    Shame! Oh well. The years will pass and the old government members will be replaced by young open minded people and pish out the old gulable bible bashing bigots. Then we will pass the SSM bill and end discrimination

  10. Me says:

    Bermuda is not a planet and It can NEVER legislate love no matter what religious cult club u are in to make sence of your discrimitory life my advise peeps read a bible it’s all about LOVE ……..boom ..drops the mike

  11. facts of the rock says:

    it’s past time that DIRECT RULE be imposed on Bermuda and the plp/biu/EB and cohorts fully investigated

  12. BermudaOne says:

    Being that politicians want to mess with the marriage laws to effect a minority (the same way Americans did the ‘Separate but Equal’ segregation laws, under the excuse that marriage is purely a religious matter. I think that if they honestly feel that way, that they should pass the proper laws to make it purely a religious matter, meaning that marriage outside of the changing of the last names, has NO other legal matter attached to it, also would mean there is no reason to go court for a divorce. All legal rights such as joining assets and spouse rights and everything else associated at the legal parts of marriage can then be put in place for civil partnerships only, that way their “religious” ceremony would be totally clear.

  13. Ashley M de Sa says:

    The UK, has never interfered in my lifetime, why now? Clearly Bermuda wasn’t ready for SSM and the previous government was out of line putting it into law in the first place after they asked the people to vote on it and the people very clearly said no to it. Obviously I’d rather it to be legal, but our country isn’t ready for it. We need to do this the right way, not through force.

    • Reuben says:

      It should show you the large backstep that the Bermuda Government is making since this is force England to take a hard look at flexing its political might here. And get the facts straight, the OBA didn’t put anything into to law, they were taken to court just as the PLP will be and the courts rule in favor of those who wanted equality under the law. And obviously to any one reading your comments you don’t want it to be legal so please stop acting.

    • Mike Hind says:

      How is our country not ready for it?

      We have it now and NOTHING changed. At all.

      The only force happening here is by Mr. Brown forcing an unjust Bill that takes equal access to rights away from people for ABSOLUTELY no reason.