Rainbow Alliance ‘Condemn’ Referendum Move

March 1, 2016

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda “condemns the Bermuda Government’s move to have a referendum on marriage equality,” the group said today, adding that “with many LGBTQ Bermudians forced to leave home” because of discrimination, “it is likely that a referendum will not have an accurate reflection of those that will be impacted by the decision.”

This follows after the announcement yesterday by Premier Michael Dunkley that the Government will table a Referendum Bill so “that the people of this Country can express their opinions on same-sex marriage and civil unions via a Referendum.”

A statement from the group said, “The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda condemns the Bermuda Government’s move to have a referendum on marriage equality. We agree with the assessment of the Centre for Justice that a referendum is an inappropriate method for making human rights decisions that impact a small minority of Bermuda’s population.

“The proposed Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 would effectively legislate discrimination, as pointed out by the Human Rights Commission. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda stands by the HRC’s analysis and underscores that inequality cannot be enshrined in Human Rights Law.

Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda 160301

“It appears that the OBA government is attempting to fix this poor legislation with another cowardly route away from equity for LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer] people.

“If the government maintains that marriage is between a man and a woman, how are they also suggesting that civil unions are a viable comparison for same-gender-loving couples?

“During the information session on February 15, Minister Pamplin-Gordon said in reference to taking the question to the people of Bermuda: “Many human rights have had to be fought for by minorities [...] What we don’t want to do is to put ourselves as a country in the situation in which a majority of people say that we are willing to trample on the rights of a minority [...] That would specifically be in violation of the preamble that we have to our human rights act [...]: ‘Recognition of the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family[...]‘” We are saddened to find that her words were merely lip-service to equity.

“To quote the former Premier Cannonier when he declared that the referendum on gaming would be cancelled, “This matter is too important for political games.” A referendum on marriage equality seems like a political move by a party afraid to show leadership on a human rights issue.

“In December 2013, the OBA government broke its campaign promise for a referendum on gaming. Since then, there have also been calls for referendums on immigration reform, education, and cannabis reform. It is hypocritical that the government decide to play political games with the legal rights of a minority of oppressed individuals.

“The Finance Minister has only just shared the debt Bermuda is faced with during the recent Budget. Referendums cost approximately $350,000. This issue should not be decided by such a costly means.

“Similarly, with many LGBTQ Bermudians forced to leave home because of the very discrimination we seek to solve, it is likely that a referendum will not have an accurate reflection of those that will be impacted by the decision.

“We hope that if the Government proceeds with this disappointing referendum, that they hold it during the summer holidays, which would allow a chance for some students who are typically abroad to have a say in this matter.

“If it does turn out that a majority of Bermudians do support marriage equality, we would expect Government to remove its objectionable policy regarding civil unions and to legislate marriage equality fully.

“Prolonging this decision for a referendum also ushers in more months of campaigning full of rampant homophobia and transphobia that will cause considerable mental anguish and heightened discomfort for the LGBTQ  community.

“Particularly, the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda would like to underscore how damaging a continuation of hateful rhetoric will be on LGBTQ youth that are simply trying to exist in a country that forcefully tells them they are somehow abnormal. We affirm the existence of our young LGBTQ Bermudians and encourage them to remain hopeful about the future: it gets better.

“We urge the OBA to reconsider this hasty course of action.

“As always, the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda remains committed to providing safer spaces for the LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer] community.

“It is made up of a diverse group of young Bermudians that are involved in many areas of other social justice advocacy and community work. There are no official spokespeople and all statements are written collaboratively.”

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Comments (69)

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  1. sage says:

    Well that’s surprising.

  2. Onion Juice says:


  3. Bermy Realist says:

    How about those of us who want to vote “NO”! where is the 3rd choice?

  4. Lualaba says:

    From what I have seen the Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 in itself is in contravention of the human rights act. One would hope that the HRC challenges the change in court. But then again this may all be irrelevant if the pending civil case against the registrar general happens 1st.

    • Family Man says:

      If the Matrimonial Causes Amendment Act 2016 passes I can’t see how the members of the HRC appointed by the Government can continue to serve. They should resign en masse.

      It would be difficult to serve on a commission designed to uphold equality while the government that appointed you passes legislation to allow discrimination.

      • Truth Teller says:

        I agree with “Family Man” the Human Rights Commissioners should show some
        integrity and conviction and resign en masse.

      • Gino says:

        The Human Rights Commission is not appointed by the Government. It is selected after an extensive interview process by a selection committee.

  5. Terry says:

    Whom are these rainbow people that informed or released this to the media.
    Not just more propaganda.

    • Come Correct says:

      You searching?

    • Hmmmmmmm says:

      Maybe you can’t read. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is made up of a diverse group of young Bermudians that are involved in many areas of other social justice advocacy and community work. There are no official spokespeople and all statements are written collaboratively.

  6. EXACTLY! says:

    And that is why a Referendum needs to be had. It will prove that the majority are not in favor of Same Sex Marriage or Civil Unions between a sodomite couple because the belief of Traditional Marriage, as setout through a Covenant by God himself between a man and a woman still stands! The LGBT community want to speak of their Human Rights, well what about my human rights as a mother to protect my children from being forced to accept such a lifestyle?!

    • Mike Hind says:

      Discrimination isn’t a right.

      Bigotry isn’t a right.

      Calling them “a sodomite couple” is bigotry.

      Demanding that your personal choice of religion’s “Covenant by God” be the only one, thus denying equal access to rights, is bigotry.

      No one is forcing you to accept a lifestyle.

      The only ones forcing are you and yours.

      Please stop and show a little love.

    • Flattsboy says:

      “Well what about my human rights as a mother to protect my children from being forced to accept such a lifestyle?!”

      Forced to accept a lifestyle? Just because they people are given the right to marriage and rights what do you think will happen ?

    • Um Um Like says:

      God forbid any of your children are gay!

  7. learned hand says:

    Only somewhat related, but legal observers should read the ECHR’s very recent judgment in Pajić v Croatia, which reaches a very similar conclusion (albeit by a different route) as our supreme court did in the Bermuda Bred Company case. Essentially, the Court found a Convention violation where a country’s immigration law treated bi-national same-sex couples less favorably than opposite-sex couples.

    It really goes to show that Bermuda is at the cutting edge of developments in transnational human rights. I find that very exciting, but apparently some of our supposedly ‘progressive’ politicos see it differently. Strange, that.

    • True Lies says:

      I find it hilarious that you think Croatia and Bermuda are at the cutting edge of this. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005.

      • Flattsboy says:

        we only legalized homosexuality in the 90′s we are still a backward country in someways and we have a long way to go.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Yup, and over 10 years on, and Canada is still consistently ranks among the best countries in the world to live, in multiple categories. No erosion of family values, or the moral foundations of the country… children of same gender families have been shown to be no different than children of different gender families. Life is as normal there as it always has been. It is the countries tolerance and acceptance of cultural and social differences that makes it one of the most respected countries in the world… maybe there is some things we could learn there.

      • CommonSense says:

        What does Canada have to do with the affairs in Bermuda? Once again irrelevant.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          A lot, they are the functioning model that debunks all the hype from the anti-LGBT movement.10 years on and they haven’t even budged a millimetre closer to moral or social collapse over the legalization of same sex marriages. It is this removal of any argument that leaves the only reason left the anti-LGBT community are against same sex marriage is that they don’t like it or believe in it… but no one is forcing them to, they have a right to their beliefs, but they do not have the right to enforce their belief on others.

  8. Reality Check says:

    While I think it is completely wrong for the Gov to hold a referendum on marriage equality , I believe the polls will prove correct , and marriage rights will ultimately be extended to same sex couples . Still , a great shame our elected OBA Gov has chosen not to demonstrate leadership on this issue .

  9. JCS says:

    Email your MP and let them know how you feel about this, whether you be for or against.

  10. Coffee says:

    For a rainbow to appear , raindrops (moisture) must fall , there will be a lot of tears . Just say NO Bermuda if you want to see a brighter rainbow .

  11. J says:

    I don’t hate the individual LGBT persons, but I despise the ‘Gay Agenda’ that plays a major role in creating said persons. The influence is all to real and it starts at our youth’s most impressionable age.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Straight people create gay people, not “the Gay Agenda”.

      Influence doesn’t make people gay. Impressionable youth aren’t going to become gay if we start giving gay people equal access to rights and, you know, treating them like human beings.

      The Gay Agenda is equality. That’s it.

      • LOL says:

        you tired tune is as poor as your music. time to retire both and move on to something new.

        • Mike Hind says:

          AH! Now a personal attack about what I do for a living. Don’t you have anything substantial to say?

          Or are cowardly ad hominems while hiding behind a fake name the extent of your intelligence?

          Internet tough guy. Pathetic.

          • LOL says:

            I have seen your act and trust me, there is nothing personal about the analogy of your tired lines and your music. simply an observation, how you take it is your problem.

            • Mike Hind says:

              This is where’s you’re going?

              Come on. You can do better than this.

              Even if you’re just trolling, you can do better than this.

              It’s disrespectful to troll this badly.

              Do better.

        • Mike Hind says:

          I’d come back at you for what you do for a living… but no one knows who you are because you’re too cowardly to sign your real name. Ah, well.

          • LOL says:

            retired and loving it.

            • Coffee says:

              Leave Hike Mind alone ! You know this government gave away his job to foreigners as well . It’s off season , he can’t find work so he stays home and plays the keyboard for Bernews .

              • Mike Hind says:

                Oh! And here comes “Coffee” with his…

                well… nothing, really. Too stupid to actually have a conversation, but JUST smart enough to be ashamed of that fact.

                So, what does he add? Nothing…

                Unless someone feeds him something to post.

                (Oh, and it wasn’t THIS government that gave my job away to foreigners… that was the government that you’re so blindly loyal to.)

      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        That’s a false statement.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Care to elaborate?

          Which statement is not true?

          Oh, wait. It’s you. You don’t actually have an argument.

    • Rhonnda Oliver says:

      So basically you’re saying, I don’t hate gay people, but how dare they want to be treated like everyone else because they’re perverting our children?

      Where do you get this stuff?

    • Flattsboy says:

      You are born that way, there is no agenda, either you are born gay or straight these people are born just like you and me from a mother and they deserve the same rights that we are all afforded.

      I hope that if you ever have a gay family member or friend you realize their sexual orientation is not a choice.

      • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

        Ok just post the evidence of scientists finding the gay gene…I’ll save you time …They haven’t found it yet but still, they search feverishly. You and Mike should show em where it is…

        • Just the Tip says:

          Your showing your lack of knowledge. there is no such thing as a gay gene because genes don’t work as an individual unit, so there is no blond gene or blue eyes gene. Instead it takes multiple genes to make up such things as blond hair or blue eyes and possible even what your sexual orientation might be.

          • LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL says:

            Did you hear yourself? As a person that knows about this stuff I must inform you that your genetic make-up determines the color of your skin, the color of your eyes, the color of your hair and so on. There is one or more specifically a few genes that determine those few things and ultimately work with other genes in order to bring their initial programming to fruition.
            As far as the so called ‘gay gene’ that you guys are speaking of, scientists have been searching for this particular gene. Its not something that has been fabricate, it is what has been posted on our televisions, internet and newspapers that these scientists are searching for it. But, it has not been found. So to say that you are not ‘born gay’ would be most accurate.

            • Mike Hind says:

              How… do you not… seriously?

              “Just The Tip” writes “…genes don’t work as an individual unit… Instead it takes multiple genes…”

              You reply that basically they are wrong, then write “There is one or more specifically a few genes that determine those few things and ultimately work with other genes in order to bring their initial programming to fruition.”

              Which is pretty much exactly the same thing.

              As for being born gay?

              Why not just ask gay folks? Why not ask them if it’s a choice?
              Straight people that make this claim are constantly asked if they chose their orientation. They don’t really answer and usually run away – as usual – when answered. And if they do, they disappear after a follow up question, asking for clarification.

              However, This entire line of questioning is irrelevant.

              Even IF being gay was a choice – which it isn’t – it wouldn’t matter when it comes to discrimination.
              Things that are choices – for example, religion – are protected from discrimination.
              Government isn’t allowed to deny access to rights based on religion.
              Why are you ok with them doing it based on orientation?

  12. Unbelievable says:

    Ok Rainbow Alliance…..now’s your opportunity to get the vote out. I support this issue but what are you and the HRC going to do to get people to vote at the ballot box and vote yes to SSM?

    • Ridiculous says:

      Didn’t you read the statement? Many of the people this impacts have had to leave the island because of oppression. Many young people that would likely support are also at school. They are saying they won’t be able to rally support and that that should not matter on a human rights issue only impacting a few people.

      • Unbelievable says:

        THE POINT is that it is coming to a national vote, which is a referendum, which no one can probably stop…..it’s now incumbent, I would expect, on the advocates on this issue to get the vote out. Promote a ‘yes’ vote.

      • Bermuda First says:

        The line about young people being away at school impacting the outcome is simply a poor excuse for failure when most will know/agree that those that support SSM are in the minority and thus will very very likely lose. Thankfully the few will not be dictating what is best for all. The OBA should have simply reflected that in turning down SSM and civil unions but since they didn’t, the public thankfully will.

        • Mike Hind says:

          No one is trying to “dictate what is best for all”.

          They’re just trying to get equal access to rights and privileges.

          There’s a difference.

  13. d@ggystyle says:

    Can someone please educate me on this matter. Some people want the government just to put the bill through with no referendum.what is the point of a referendum to ask the public to vote on it correct?.some people asked for a referendum on gaming not!!!!. I guess it is only certain things. My observation is that we are very cofused people in general like a bunch of kids I WANT I WANT I WANT WHAT about laws on weed and our environment look at the rest of the world we have been brainwashed about things for years

  14. Kevin says:

    its like living amongst a bunch of children,,, quite simply human rights should be a given not something voted on. it will be interesting on judgement day if the bible is a true reflection ..there are many of those who show up on sunday but seem to judge and condemn….. good luck with your entry through those pearly gates

  15. LOL (Original TM*) says:

    Those that think that one day discrimination will disappear given enough laws are kidding themselves. That fact alone of choosing a partner in the first place is to discriminate against every other potential partner. People will always have a preference of something over another thing. So Mike I disagree with the logic you present and reject it in totality. Is that discriminatory? Real Christians can not bend what we believe in just to satisfy people who do not share our beliefs and vice versa. This is not to say the Christians do not stray to satisfy their selfish wants. We all fall short. Bermuda is overwhelmingly Christian or at least believe in God if this passes this would open up possible discrimination against Christians because of our faith. This was part of the reason for the “new world” and the founding of the US in the first place.


    • Come Correct says:

      Sorry, you are wrong, freedom of religion was law well before sexual orientation. As the law stands now, nobody can discriminate based on sexual orientation or RELIGION. A same sex couple can not force a church to permform a same sex marriage, assuming that becomes law, because that goes against freedom of religious believes if they decline. Balance, balance is the key to life. I’m not religious, I’m not LGT or whatever else, I simply believe EVERY ONE has the right to be happy as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. I’m spiritual, not religious. I smoke cannabis, I smoke in privacy and 99% of the time only at night when I have my priorities squared away. I hurt no one, do you hear my cry about a clearly unjust law? We want to talk about rights? Everyone has the right to be happy as long as it hurts no one else. So effing simple.

      • LOL (Original TM*) says:

        Guess you have not seen the story where a father of a boy in a US school was arrested for trespassing after the school failed to address his concerns over gay material being distributed to the kids in the name of tolerance….

        LOL do some investigating into this first and then come correct lolololol

        • Mike Hind says:

          You might want to keep reading about that story. It’s not exactly how you present it.

          But don’t let truth get in the way of your agenda of discrimination…

          • LOL (Original TM*) says:

            yes it is the man went to the school due to staff not answering his calls on the matter so he did the parental thing (guess you don’t have kids) and went to get his concern addressed

            I guess truth is only what comes out of your mouth. Honestly your the one throwing insults cause I don’t agree with you. You must just like seeing your thoughts in print even if they are baseless and nothing but emotional hyper ball type nonsense. I been reading you for a long time here and other forms and you really just seem to be the type that has a need for the last word if that’s the case prove it or add something meaningful to the topic.


            • Mike Hind says:

              No, truth is when you have as many facts as you can gather.

              You haven’t done that.

              I do enjoy your accusation of me needing the last word. It hasn’t happened for a few weeks.
              What’s incredible about this particular train of accusation you’re trying is that the only reason it appears that I want the last word is because people like you usually run away when shown to be wrong, rather than having the courage of convictions and standing up for what you say.

              I don’t use “hyper ball”. I use reason. I don’t spread lies or exaggeration.
              I leave that to people like you who defend discrimination.

              • LOL (Original TM*) says:

                I asked you for factual data on the discovery of some sort of biological science (ie facts which you did not or could not provide)proving that people can infact be born gay. You are the one who did not reply with anything but cry baby insults (note I did not call you a cry baby just your comment) like you did just now (by the way proving as an observable fact that you do have some NEED to have the last word as observed in every topic you chime in on must I drag up all you past contributions here and on BIAW ) .. I provided a link (that is factual proof case you didn’t see that) on the story I referenced do you care to provide a link to the whole story you and you alone seem to be privy to… I’ll wait for that. Just a question do you find yourself constantly cutting people off during conversations where you don’t agree infact better to ask those that are your friends.. ask them for the truth and see what they say. On you last point people don’t run from you on topics where again YOU think they are wrong they realize that it’s a waist of time and energy as you do exactly what you accuse them of, not providing any facts and resorting to insulting comments about them and don’t even try to take on their points. Unlike what you believe about my intelligence I believe you are intelligent enough to have a factual conversation with so here I am standing up to you and your HYPER BALL comments ( show me your facts you have present thus far in this conversation I know it will be hard as you haven’t yet which actually makes you the lire) or are you now going to prove me right again and run away like you think others do or better yet use my logic for why some not all of them leave the topic on me……

                LOL I guess it is true when people are presented with things they know to be true but conflicts with what they want to believe they get a little shall we say upset…LOL

  16. PINKLADY says:

    Thank you Premier Dunkley… I agree with a referendum. Let the majority decide… all the LGBT, SSM, Rainbow disgruntled folks are now making excuses because their folk have jumped shipped….WHATEVER Rainbow Alliance and Human Rights lady… WE VOTE NO! The Church is about to go get Madea, Sister Watermelon, Aunt Effy and all dem seniors out the old folks home that believe in a man and a woman marriage and ya’ll RAINBOW folks need to go sit down and be gone!

  17. Aware says:

    Why are we having a referendum? The Government is elected to govern – get on with it.

    • PINKLADY says:

      Bermuda is a parliamentary representative democratic dependency.

  18. Bermuda First says:

    The simple line “a small minority of Bermuda’s population” by the Rainbow Alliance is actually an important point. Those that support SSM and civil unions are a small percentage. Remember, only 21 countries out of 191 countries in the United Nations have passed SSM laws. Also remember that over 9100 signatures have signed the Preserve Marriage petition in just two or three months while the petition for SSM in Bermuda has 3500 after almost a whole year. My point is that the minority such as SSM supporters and a few such as a couple/hand full of politicians should not decided what is best for the vast majority of Bermudians. Thankfully Bermudians are standing up to preserve marriage as purposefully between a man and a woman.

  19. Bermuda First says:

    Lets not be confused folks, SSM is not a human right. Instead, lets be clear that it is an attempt to distort the fact that marriage is purposefully between a man and a woman into something else that pleases SSM supporters/those that are LGBT. Whatever their motives (defending their own or a family members sexuality, trying to normalize their behavior, etc.) they shouldn’t be allowed to dismantle marriage. Framing SSM as a human right is a ploy and i encourage anyone to remember the fact that marriage is purposefully between a man and a woman and not be fooled by SSM supporters attempting to justify their inappropriate views and actions.

    • Mike Hind says:

      How will allowing same sex couples to marry “dismantle marriage”?

      And what does “purposefully between a man and a woman” mean?

      This isn’t another “Marriage is about having kids” argument is it?
      If so, you’re wrong. You don’t have to have kids, be able to have kids or even be able to provide the perfect situation for raising kids in order to get married. You just plain aren’t.

      The only ploy here is the ones you’re using to try to deny citizens of Bermuda equal access to rights and privileges that the rest of us share.

  20. Bigots Anonymous says:

    God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
    The courage to change the things I can
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    BIGOTRY – intolerance toward those who hold different opinions from oneself.
    “the difficulties of combating prejudice and bigotry”

    BIGOT – a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial, LGBT or religious group)

    A bigot is a hater, she said. A bigot hates Catholics. A bigot hates Jews. … It’s no sin to be poor, she said. It is a sin to be a bigot. Don’t ever be one of them. —Pete Hamill, A Drinking Life, 1994

    Bigot – stubborn and complete intolerance of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from one’s own.

    This all boils down to Ignorance and intolerance no matter what race or religion you were born or baptized with.


    • LOL (Original TM*) says:

      So your saying that everyone in the whole world is a bigot thanks for your contribution…..


  21. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    Let’s start talking about numbers. Since the LGBT community that is ‘out’ and identifying as LGBT is approximately 5% of any population, that’s 3000 Bermudians. Quibble with the number if you like’ there’s a few thousand LGBT people here any way you cut the cake. All of these people have families of one sort or another. They’ve friends and aunties and uncles. This is not an insignificant number. And then there are many more people who are not ‘out’, for many reasons, not the least of which is that the homophobic bible literalists will encourage their tithed followers to shun the ‘lifestyle’. So insulting to call the LGBT community a ‘lifestyle’. But that’s the religious fundamentalists for you. Is it ok to marginalize three thousand people give or take several hundred in little Bermuda? Is it ok to discriminate against one single human being anywhere? These are our children, our friends, our brothers and sisters. We must treat them as equals, embrace them for all that they are, celebrate their diversity, and ensure they will have equal rights in the eyes of the Law. Religion.