Same Sex Partner Rights Take Effect Today

February 29, 2016

[Updated] The decision in the Bermuda Bred legal case will take effect today [Feb 29], with the ruling paving the way for non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians, who are in committed relationships, to live and work in Bermuda.

The legal case was brought by the Bermuda Bred Company, which was formed by a group of ‘born and bred’ Bermudians in order to “challenge the manner in which their bi-national families were being unfavourably treated by Bermuda’s immigration laws.”

The Bermuda Bred decision was handed down on November 27th, and saw the Supreme Court rule that non-Bermudian same-sex partners of Bermudians, who are in committed relationships, are entitled to live and work in Bermuda.

The ruling said, “Because same sex marriage was neither possible nor recognised under existing Bermudian law, the relevant statutory provisions discriminated against Bermudians in stable same-sex relationships in an indirect way.

“Because while a heterosexual Bermudian at least had the option of marrying his or her partner with a view to receiving the benefit of spousal rights, this option was not available to homosexual Bermudians in that foreign same-sex marriages were not recognised and local same sex marriage was not legally possible.”

The matter was also referenced in today’s sitting of the House of Assembly, as MPs discussed possible amendments to laws as it pertains to civil unions and same sex marriage.

Update 4.50pm:
The Ministry of Home Affairs said, “The Bermuda Government is cognizant of the judgment of the Chief Justice in the case of Bermuda Bred Ltd vs the Minister of Home Affairs and the Attorney General which came into effect today.

“In order to give effect to the judgment, the Minister shall this week be issuing instructions that non-Bermudians in a permanent same sex relationship with a Bermudian must follow in order to demonstrate permanency of the same-sex relationship and obtain an entry/re-entry letter from the Department of Immigration.

“If an application is subsequently approved by the Minister the non-Bermudian same-sex partner of a Bermudian in a permanent relationship will be able to reside and seek employment in Bermuda and work free of immigration control subject to conditions set by the Minister.

“In addition, changes will be made in short order in this parliamentary session to the Government Fee Regulations 1976 to charge the applicant for issuance of the requisite entry/re-entry letter.

“The fee will be commensurate with similar entry/re-entry letters. The Department of Immigration will also release an application form which will assist both the applicant and the Department to ensure that applications are processed in a consistent and fair fashion.

“This will be in place in the next week or so. In the meantime the Ministry of Home Affairs urges potential applicants to remain patient while administrative processes are finalised.

The full ‘Bermuda Bred’ court ruling is below [PDF]:

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Comments (25)

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  1. I heart 441 says:

    How would a non-Bermudian feel if a Bermudian relocated and resided to their home country/country of birth and petitioned or have laws changed to change the normal “way of life”?

    Watch most expats dislike my question!

    For the record, I have nothing against expats, I was once a expat myself living in a foreign land, no not the UK, an arrogant North American land.

    • JD says:

      I think you missed the bit about the people bringing this action being “born and bred” in Bermuda. The trick is to read the story.

      • Daylilly says:

        It’s disappointing that the government didn’t intervene prior to this ruling becoming final.

    • This is F!@#ing Bull S!@# !!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Mike Hind says:

        No. you are.

        How about adding something of substance to a conversation for a change?

    • serengeti says:

      Happens all the time. For example, muslims are trying to turn the UK into a fundamentalist Islamic state. And that has a much bigger effect than allowing people who already live together to privately marry.

      • planeasday says:

        The best example of hyperbole I have read on here today – let me guess BBC or CNN or any host of alphabet “news” agencies tasked with no other dictate then to spew misinformation and manufacture opinion has lead you to the above statement…ridiculous.

        I guess by your standard I can safely say the gays are trying to turn Bermuda into a hedonistic new world Sodom and Gomorrah hell bent on destroying any vestiges of the nuclear family, Christ based religions, and anything once considered to be moral and decent – and by the way they all worship Lucifer.

        Do you even know who chose the Antahkarana as a symbol for the gay movement?

    • Nightlilly says:

      Hi! I am Bermudian. I lived abroad in Europe for nearly a decade. I petitioned to change the laws while I was there as an expat.

      Which laws?

      I tried to get the government to get rid of the “luxury” tax on tampons and sanitary pads because trust me, menstruating is no luxury.

      I also signed petitions to ban the practice of Bull Fighting in Spain. Something that is very culturally significant to the Spanish. Why? Because it is a cruel and outdated practice. There are many modern options that do not involve torturing an animal for up to an hour while you practice “death by a thousand cuts” in a fight that is not fair and therefore not very interesting to watch.

      Why did I feel like I had the right to go into another culture a change their laws?

      Because I was living in that country and making my life there – I was a part of my community and wanted to make it a better place.

      Because I was but one voice amongst many locals who felt the same way.

      Because I am a human and as a human I want to make the world a better place for all humans.

    • JUNK YARD DOG says:

      I take exception to the practice of name calling for the sake of venting and justifying narrow minded opinions and consider the practice as ignorant and immature. Stop it !

  2. Bermy Realist says:

    I just give up because anything goes at this point. May as well make marijuana legal.

  3. Paul Revere says:

    So what happens when they are no longer in a relationship? Who will monitor that, or will it be like how things happened in the past with illegals. Until they get caught, they can stay live work and enjoy the benifits.
    Bad ruling by the Chief Justice.

    • Rhonnda aka Blue Familiar says:

      What happens when people get divorced?

      • planeasday says:

        It starts at phase one – all guest workers do not have limits on their work permits (thanks Mike – way to look out for Bermudians who seek to integrate into the labor force)so even with a “divorce” so to speak these folk are here as long as a company will have them – lets call it 15 ears shall we?

        Phase 2 – they are now PRC at hat 15 year threshold aren’t they?

        Phase 3 – at 20 years… let em have a crack at citizenry and a vote…

        Sure as heck seems to me as another way Fahy and Co. have engineered the Democide (yes that is a word) of excess melanin type Bermudians…or at least the ones who would vote team green…

        • Nightlilly says:

          Not everyone who lives here for 20+ years WANTS Bermudian citizenship so badly.

          It’s not a golden bloody ticket. It’s one, small, isolated, country.

          Most countries will make you give up their citizenship if you elect to hold a citizenship from another country. Most times it’s more valuable to have a Canadian or a European passport than a Bermudian one.

      • Paul Revere says:

        If one of the spouses is non Bermudian and there are no children involved, immigration should follow up.
        We are not talking about 2 Bermudians separating, we talking about a foreigner coming to Bermuda and there are high stakes involved.
        when is enough enough.

    • Legalgal says:

      It is a flawed decision. The law needs to be changed to permit marriage. Which will happen if a gay person challenges the law. Shame they wasted money going about this the wrong way. Same with the adoption case.

  4. Phillip Wells says:

    How will “in committed relationships” be assessed by Immigration?

    • lalalalala says:

      That’s an immigration problem, just like with a Spouse of Bermudian. If the Bermudian and SOB are not living together “as a couple” then they do not fulfill the SOB requirements (divorce is not required)

    • Legalgal says:

      The definition is a mess. Bad law. They should have amended pleadings and attacked the marriage clause. Simples.

    • Nightlilly says:

      Gosh it would be so much more simple if everyone could just get married and then that could be the yardstick

  5. swing voter says:

    This is utter rubbish. The nerve of some lawyers!

    • brain drain says:

      The nerve of some Bermudian’s asking for rights in their own country, how dare they!

      Lawyers only represent their clients.

  6. Wow says:

    ! Is this ruling meaning if they married abroad but because it not legal in Bermuda they can still get the same benefits? Or it means if I’m in a relationship with someone (not married) that I can still get the same benefits as if I were married? Smh what’s the point of us bermudians working hard for an education for our government to ignore this fact and allow jobs to be given to expats first. Bda is going down hill fast!