‘Government Will Now Consider The Next Steps’

June 24, 2016

Following yesterday’s referendum, the “Government will now consider the next steps that respects and reflects the views of the people” and “the reality is that Bermuda will likely see its own share of court challenges,” Premier Michael Dunkley said.

With 44,367 people registered to vote, and 20,804 people — or 46.89% — turned out to vote in yesterday’s referendum, the Parliamentary Registrar said the “referendum question shall be taken to be unanswered”

Parliamentary Registrar Tenia Woolridge said, “Based on the Referendum Act 2012, a referendum question shall be taken to be unanswered if less than 50 per cent of the persons registered in the parliamentary register vote at the referendum.”

While the referendum is technically unanswered due to the under 50% turnout, looking at the votes that were cast shows a majority ‘No/No’, with 14,192 “No” votes for same-sex marriage [6,514 "Yes" votes] and 13,003 “No” votes for Civil Unions [7,626 "Yes" votes].

Parliamentary Registrar Bermuda June 24 2016

This morning the Premier said, “With yesterday’s referendum, Bermuda has expressed its democratic right to vote on two questions that have been the focus of discussion and debate for more than a year.

“Based on the Referendum Act 2012, a referendum question shall be taken to be unanswered if less than 50 per cent of the persons registered in the parliamentary register vote at the referendum.

“And with the results indicating a majority ‘no’ vote, and a less than 50 percent turnout, the Government will now consider the next steps that respects and reflects the views of the people.

“It’s important to stress that Bermuda is not alone in its struggle to address the legal issue of same sex relationships. It is a contentious issue in many jurisdictions.

“Globally, the Courts have become actively engaged in opining on a series of challenges relative to the issue.

“And with the results of yesterday’s same sex relationships Referendum, the reality is that Bermuda will likely see its own share of court challenges.

“It is worth recalling that the referendum was preceded by the presentation to Government, in May 2015, of a petition to legalize same sex marriage.

“Six months later, in October, a second petition was presented to Government asking that marriage remain as defined in existing legislation.

“In March this year, the Government brought forward legislation authorising the referendum. Its purpose was to hear the voice of the people before taking action on the important questions contained in the referendum.

“Throughout this period, the Government conducted a series of public meetings and initiatives whose purpose was to educate and stimulate community discussion on the issues of same sex couples and marriage.

“The question of same sex marriage has proved to be an emotive issue, and yet these meetings, which attracted hundreds of Bermudians, upheld a level of respect and civility that we as a community should be proud of, showing how well we can work together to address issues that matter to us.

“Ultimately, yesterday’s Referendum was an important moment for Bermuda. And I want to take this opportunity to thank the Office of the Parliamentary Registrar and their management and oversight of yesterday’s process.

“There has been much discussed, much said and much shared throughout our community regarding the issue of same sex relationships.

“And what is evident is that ‎there are very passionate advocates for and against the matter. This has been and will continue to be a highly sensitive matter.

“Despite our differences we must progress forward. And my hope is that as we move forward as a Country, we move ahead with greater tolerance, understanding and respect and appreciation for one another.‎”‎

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Comments (84)

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  1. Mike says:

    “And with the results indicating a majority ‘no’ vote, and a less than 50 percent turnout, the Government will now consider the next steps that respects and reflects the views of the people”.

    Did the outcome count – or didn’t it?

  2. SMDH says:

    Premier, you cannot in good conscience let the results of this non-binding referendum sway governments decision especially considering that over 50% of voters did not cast votes!!

  3. reddamtibi says:

    What? Unanswered? This gay agenda/population destabilization promoting OBA will do anything to literally push this Sh*! through – pun intended.

    Do it OBA please push it through (while hiding behind the “courts”) and guarantee your future obliteration…as if you had a chance for a second term anyway.

    PLP = wasted money

    OBA = population destabilization agenda – an old government trick designed to ensure its continuation

    Not anymore.

    • Mike Hind says:

      Population destabilization? How does that work?

      How will marriage equality destabilize the population?

  4. Real Deal says:

    Dunkley, follow David Cameron’s lead. Just go. This whole pathetic exercise is because you are a weak leader. As a taxpayer I am appalled at this waste of time and money. Since you won’t lead, just get out of the way.

    • Hurricane says:

      @ Real Deal, well said. The man NEEDS TO GO. And never again will I vote in a non-binding referendum.

      • Truth says:

        What needs to happen NEXT is to EDUCATE one of the most bigoted and racist developed countries in the world.

        • Say Whaat? says:

          Actually we aren’t one of the most bigoted. We don’t mind your difference of opinions. We stated ours, but you want it your way or no way.

          • Mike Hind says:

            It’s not about opinions. It’s about hurting Bermudians by denying them equal access to rights and privileges for absolutely no valid, real, defensible reason.

    • Dan says:

      You know what, even as an ‘OBA-er’, I 101% agree with you.

    • Um Um Like says:

      Grow a pair, Dunkley, OBA!

    • Game over says:

      All you likes need to ZIP it. If the majority of Politian’s in the OBA do not support gay marriage what are you going to do vote PLP. Yea ok RIGHT!

      Let’s get something straight white Bermudians always vote UBP and OBA. I don’t know who you people trying to fool talking about you voted plp in 1998 lololol.

      The only swing voters and flip floppers are Black Bermudians and they are the people that decided who wins the next election. Always has Always will.

      Premier Dunkley doesn’t want to do anything rash to jeopardize the 2017 election. Here’s my vote NO + NO.

  5. Tear says:

    Wow. Can’t believe how rude they were at the polling station in Sandys yesterday.
    I personally saw people denied their voting rights. What a shame…

    • ron,b says:

      weird ,,they were very very nice to us

      • Awake says:

        You were obviously not one of those people who were denied their voting rights! Don’t be angry at TEAR (not Terry!) for speaking the truth! You are the one needing the rum!

        • Jus' Wonderin' says:

          How were they denied their voting rights lmfao….what a joke!

    • reddamtibi says:

      How did this happen Terry? Maybe they did not have the correct documentation required?

      Let me guess – your tin foil hat theory is that thousands of potential gay supporters were denied their right to vote…

      You need another rum…

      • reddamtibi says:

        Sorry Tear…so used to responding to idiotic rants from Terry – but yours is very close….

      • Terry says:

        And you need a pair of glasses.

    • LOL says:

      seriously? you lie much?

  6. San George says:

    There are people in real economic trouble, including this island in general and we are more concerned about who these rich people can sleep with. That’s why the UK people voted to Brexit; the privileged care nothing for the rest of us.

    • Onion says:

      What are you talking about? Rich same sex couples are able to afford to live together in Bermuda without needing to be married. It’s poor same sex couples who are suffering the most.

    • hmmm says:

      Gay and lesbian orientation has absolutely nothing to do with wealth and people currently can sleep with who they want to! there is no legal restriction on that.

      That was not what the Bermuda referendum was about. Did you fail to understand AGAIN…SMH

      • Jim says:

        The referendum was an exercise in wasted time and money, simply because the government is too scared to make a decision out of fear of losing votes.

        That’s the reality, and I tend to defend them.

        Eventually all this same-sex stuff will be accepted and legal, it’s already ILLEGAL to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation. HUMAN RIGHTS AMENDMENT ACT, look it up.

        On a side note, myself and others, as Spouses of Bermudians, are not even allowed to vote. Married to a Bermudian (less than 10 years), Bermudian child, but no right to vote in this country which is my home. What a joke.

        • JCS says:

          Yo Jim! You can get status after being married to a Bermudian for 10 years. There are people who have been here for over 30 years and can’t get status until recently when the laws (thank you plp) changed. I know of a couple of cases where people got their status after 10 years and then divorced. So forgive me if I don’t feel sorry for you. I’m Bermudian, born and bred by the way.

    • Meh. says:

      your statement makes no sense.

    • Long Bay Trading says:

      how exactly does “rich” and “gay” equate? San George YOU are in real trouble with this logic!!

      Neanderthal thinking is alive and well in Bermuda that is for sure!!

      For heaven’s sake MOVE FORWARD Bermuda – our ignorance and small minds are showing.

      • the truth will set you free says:

        Instead of saying rich and it should be those of European and Euro-American descent and specifically males are at the forefront of this agenda and whatever they are for we should be against because history has proven whatever they support has never been beneficial to the poor and people of African descent.

        They are the same people who were responsible for financial meltdown of the economy. And numerous people have suffered and are still suffering. Because they think they know what’s best for humanity. We are nothing but serfs to them. All they care about is power.

      • Onion Juice says:

        There are WEALTHY INFLUENTIAL people in society who are gay who influence de law makers.

        • Mike Hind says:

          Nonsense. There are wealthy influential people on both sides, gay and straight.

          Why is it only bad when the person is gay?

    • JCS says:

      San George, what a stupid thing to say!

  7. M.C. Beauchamp says:

    The “few” that Preserve Marriage likes to say should not decide for the “many” are apparently not so few. Several thousand according to the opinion poll conducted yesterday. Church attendance is declining. Tithing revenues are declining. The sun still came up and Bermuda will legalize Marriage Equality.

    • reddamtibi says:

      BOOM and the numbers prove it – that is why the OBA was/is so hellbent on manufacturing votes through their bogus pathways initiative.

      Like the Brits took Britain back lets take Bermuda back from these agents of destabilization and hedonism.

      • big lad says:

        Maybe not boom….

        In case you failed to realise, the “majority” from the Bermuda referendum is actually the 53% of registered voters who did not vote.

    • Its Over says:

      The fact remains the majority has spoken with 47% of the registered voters voting NO NO! There is a very slim chance at best, that if given the chance, the people that didn’t vote for whatever reasons would vote Yes Yes in favor of ssm/union. Preserve marriage supporters would need at least 600 of the remaining registered voters to reach 51%.

  8. Rocky Noggin says:

    The reason the referendum is invalid is less than 50% voted. The relative majority is statistically meaningless for a lot of reasons including that there are differing reasons for showing up or not casting a vote depending on opinion. The referendum was invalid and is NOT the same as a randomized sample of the population.

  9. reddamtibi says:

    It is so convenient isn’t it that the voter turnout was less than 50% – who couldn’t see that coming – what a deceptive ploy.
    1. I suggest a recount
    2. Statistically even at the below 50% voter turnout numbers (claimed) the difference between yeahs and nays is to large to overcome. The other 54% (roughly) would have been displayed the same yes no ratios as the ones who did cast votes.

    • Goose says:

      If it were a truly random sampling then that would hold true. But this was a referendum as opposed to being ambushed at home by a pollster.

      The results can be roughly interpreted as:

      No- 32%
      Yes- 15%
      Didn’t care enough to vote- 53%

      Civil Unions
      No- 29%
      Yes- 17%
      Didn’t care enough to vote- 54%

      One can therefore state that 68% of Bermuda is not opposed to SSM, and 71% of Bermuda is not opposed to civil unions. It’s all in the spin.

    • You Do You says:

      Not true. The people who voted “no” had hate and discrimination to motivate them to get off the couch and vote.

      Normal, logical people are not as passionate in preserving basic human rights as those who wish to squash equality.

      Depends on your carrot…

    • Cow Polly says:

      BIG ASSUMPTION! You cannot decide the ratio of those who would have voted yes and those that would have voted no from those that didn’t vote. They didn’t vote because they have NO OPINION. What does that tell you? It tells you that the majority don’t care one way or the other.
      Mr Dunkley – if you were so scared to grant human rights to a minority because you were afraid you’d lose the next election then the majority of voters have made it clear…….. it doesn’t matter. Pass SSM legislation now and come the next election those who voted No will have gotten over it and they’ll see that their precious marriage right hasn’t changed. You might also gain back the voters you’ve lost over your pathetic dithering but only if you grow some and get this sorted NOW!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      I would argue otherwise and here is why. It was Preserve Marriage that really wanted this so that they could provide a resounding ‘No’ on the issue, while on the other side the ‘Yes’ were more split on the referendum, while united in the belief that there shouldn’t be one, some were willing to vote to make their opinion heard, while others were willing to boycot. So when you look at it, the ‘No’ supporters were more inclined to vote en mass to get their statement across, while the ”Yes’ were always going to be weaker at the polls due to their split over participation.
      Now looking as to how it played out at actual polls; the ‘No’ may have garnered a strong 60%+ of the vote, it means that out of over 44,000 voters, they only managed to get a third of them to actually come out and vote for them. And while the ‘Yes’ may have only garnered support of a sixth of the population of votes, there was over 53% who did not go to vote. And as it was the ‘No’ who were pushing for this vote, that means that roughly 53% of voters either boycotted the vote, or don’t care enough about whether or not equality is granted to actually go out and vote. Now their of course would be some percentage of that of ‘No’ and ‘Yes’ voters that could not get out to vote for one reason or another, but it is statistically unlikely that those numbers would have been much more than a blip in comparison to the boycot or ‘I don’t care either way’ vote… or non vote as it were. Either way, it is a PR stretch for Preserve Marriage to try and claim victory, since they failed more than anyone else to actually get their vote in this.

  10. Family Man says:

    Since we have theocratic laws, can the stonings begin on Friday?

    Do I have to bring my own stones or will the churches supply them?

  11. Starting Point says:

    over 50% of the population decided that this was not a question the masses should be answering thus they did not vote.

    Up to the OBA to be leaders. But we know that won’t happen, parties in Bermuda would vote for slavery if they thought it meant they would win an election.

    • Onion says:

      Let’s not just blame the OBA. The PLP has plenty of gay members who couldn’t even speak out for their own rights.

      • Starting Point says:

        I would agree with that for sure.

      • Triangle Drifter says:

        Look at how many ‘dislikes’. PLP supporters cannot accept facts even when they are being slapped in the face with them.

        Want some names? Want some stories?

  12. Spilt milk says:

    Regaurdless of the way ppl voted yesterday a result like this doesnt give anybody closure in reguards to a democratic vote where majority rules. Pains me to open this can but… are all registerd voters still alive? This turnout doesnt boad well for future initiatives either.. unless your a current goverment official.

    • big lad says:

      Let’s not forget, some registered voters are not on the island and therefore are unable to vote. I thought the OBA was addressing this issue after the last referendum.

  13. What a surprise says:

    A fart in a bottle.

  14. Yahoo says:

    Another OBA blunder that cost the taxpayers $300k, all because they don’t have the guts to make the decisions we elected them to make.

    Erat was a disaster in so many ways but at least he had the guts to make decisions, as unpopular as they may have been.

    OBA, grow a pair and stop wasting taxpayer money!

    • reddamtibi says:

      You elected the OBA to usher in same sex marriage? Don’t remember that being on their election platform…

      • Yahoo says:

        It was just an example, hence the use of the word “another” to start the post. Same as they haven’t done jack about reducing the size of the civil service. Same as they haven’t done jack to increase transparency. Same as they haven’t done jack to reduce unnecessary spending. Same as they haven’t done jack to decrease unemployment. Try to keep up…

    • JCS says:

      Yahoo, do you honestly think the PLP would have made this decision? If so, I have a bridge for sale!

      • Yahoo says:

        Yes, I do. They would have said no to same sex marriage. Although I would completely disagree with that decision, I would at least have an ounce of respect for them making a decision without wasting thousands of dollars on a non-binding referendum.

        We elect MPs to make decisions, not waste money and sit on the fence. I was excited when the OBA was elected but I have been very disappointed in their ability to get anything done. Still no casinos. Fahy completely botched the Pathways issue. No cutbacks in civil service. More debt (although they share the blame for that with the PLP). 3+ years in power and what have they accomplished? In my opinion, not much.

  15. question says:

    This referendum was really a waste of money. I struggle to see what the benefit of it was. As in debt as our government and by extension country is. Its said that money can be wasted in this fashion. Holding an ill advised referendum which doesn’t meet the required 50% vote only to now say that the courts will likely become involved.

    We need to do better!

  16. question says:

    This referendum was really a waste of money. I struggle to see what the benefit of it was. As in debt as our government and by extension country is. Its sad that money can be wasted in this fashion. Holding an ill advised referendum which doesn’t meet the required 50% vote only to now say that the courts will likely become involved. Such a waste of time and money.

    The referendum has solved absolutely nothing as predicted by many.

  17. M says:

    Considering it was non-binding, the government has no mandate to act or not to act on the results. PM got played by this government.

  18. Torian says:

    Sucks how close minded our island is. Can’t wait till we enact Sharia law and kill any nonbelievers and heretics. That seems more likely to happen than Bermudians being truly accepting and not so two-facey.

  19. Curious says:

    Next Steps?

    My suggestion is ask Preserve Marriage to pay for this unanswered referendum that they successfully lobbied Cabinet to approve.

    With less than 50% voting yesterday and less than 30 percent voting no, we have wasted $350,000 that could of been used to house seniors, feed children, heal our community and many other service functions.

    What a waste of energy, time and money we just witnessed.

    • Laura says:

      I think that’s a great idea. Apparently they are well funded!

  20. clearasmud says:

    It is now time for the Premier to stop pretending that this issue will be settled in the courts because the ECHR has already ruled that it is not a human rights issue. As such our courts will have to consider those rulings despite what the chief justice has said. Also the ruling in the US was based on their constitution so it is only relevant to them. We will have to solve this very emotive issue ourselves and it will require strong and honest leadership which has been missing to date!

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      The ECHR also ruled that countries have to provide a legal frame work for Same Sex couples to get the same legal rights as is offered by marriage, the only thing that ruling states is that it doesn’t have to be marriage, but it still has to be equality under the law.

    • Starting Point says:

      The chief justice is the courts lol, if he says same sex couples would win in court then they will win in court. SSM is legal in Bermuda, end of story as was the rights of LTR to gain status. This government just hides behind the courts to do what should be done in the first place.

  21. Bud says:

    Civil unions will happen in spite of the vote yesterday. So all the OBA have done is given a ‘moral’ victory to all those who voted no to the sharing of rights they already have themselves. Good job OBA. You really are completely clueless!!!!

  22. Rene C says:

    Mr.Dunkley save the governnent some time and money. The courts have already spoken what Bermuda must do.

  23. Catherine says:

    I suggest that anyone is Preserve Marriage who has ever had sex outside of marriage leave. Preserve marriage give the impression that marriage is alive and well. My daughter is the only person in her class who has her own two parents living at home married to one another (which we are lucky to be since we are not gay). Marriage is really a strong institution in Bermuda (NOT!).

  24. Free Thinker says:

    Typical weak politicians with no spine and no true leadership qualities. This was a useless exercise from the start. Putting aside religious nuttery, which by the way, should have no bearing on the decisions made in any modern society. If it makes sense, then do it. You don’t ask for a majority opinion that affects what is in fact a human rights issue. Have you ever heard of tyranny by majority? In this case, you can’t even say that the majority is against same sex union. And even if that were the case, it’s a human rights issue and should be treated as such. The only way you don’t see this as being a human rights issue is, if you are using the bible conveniently, to support your way of thinking. Leaders should be using fact based science and not emotional rant, to make decisions. One of the side effects of this flawed system is, we choose our leaders not because they have displayed any real leadership qualities but rather, who is next in line for the throne.

  25. The People Have Spoken says:

    Michael Dunkley is a weak Leader. The cost of this referendum was a waste of Money but he tried to use the vote of the people, because he did not have the votes in Parliament to pass any Bill on this matter.

  26. LOL says:

    Perhaps Mr. Dunkley should ask his counterparts at the Overseas Territories meeting what they are doing about same sex marriage?

  27. dick francis says:

    Quote: “And with the results indicating a majority ‘no’ vote, and a less than 50 percent turnout, the Government will now consider the next steps that respects and reflects the views of the people.”

    There are NO views! It has been nulled, no question has been answered – so how what is the “views of the people’?

    If anything, everyone should be looking at the views of the actual majority that did not bother voting!

  28. Rhonnie Oliver says:

    You know, the real outcome of the referendum I think is that the majority said, we don’t care.

    Now it’s up to the government to do what they feel is right.

  29. stunned... says:

    i am more disappointed with lack of interest shown by the registered NON-voters than by the way the votes were casted.

    personally, a yes, yes vote is more about reversing the right for human beings to discriminate against other human beings and affording equal rights and less about what people of the same sex do in private or public.

  30. A says:

    The issue I had with this whole vote was: there was no legislation tied to the referendum so even if 50% had voted what would the outcome have been? It cost us approx. $500k to essentially hold an opinion poll. And for what? In a time when the education budget is cut by $1m we really don’t have the need to be doing such pointless exercises such as this. Spend the money where it is needed: education, seniors, road upkeep, hedge trimming, etc. etc.

  31. One foot in front of the other…

  32. Triangle Drifter says:

    So, over 50% of the voters could not care one way or another. Might have had enough if voting were possible online.

    Oh well, huge amount of money & time wasted with no result.

    The ball got whacked firmly back into Governments court. Now the OBA needs to grow a pair & in short order get Bermuda into the 21st century.

    The churches need to get out of politics.

  33. Gods Truth says:

    May God Continue To Bless The 14,192 Angels who participated in yesterdays referendum!! He can’t win when dealing with Heavens People!!-young generation :)

  34. Peter says:

    I cannot belive my fellow bermudian are this dumb

  35. steve says:

    We went from people with bad ideas that were strong leaders to people with good ideas that are weak leaders. I was pleased the OBA were elected it actually gave me hope. Fahey is disliked for many reasons that have nothing to do with policy, but so what? he is the only one in the party that foresight and at least tried to follow through! Result? sent to oblivion to ensure the bus from ST Davids is on time.
    I now like the PLP at least they make it clear I am not welcome here so i can plan accordingly.

  36. Well…you picked a very hot day to poll this matter…it was just too difficult to get to the polls…

  37. OBSERVER says:

    Dunkley has wasted the taxpayers money and time.
    What a waste!!!
    This is not the leader of the next government.
    Lack of knowledge, know-how stunt the man.
    What stops him from departing with Cameron??? Greed???Inflated ego???
    There is little concern here for Bermuda’s people!!!!
    The greatest concern is for foreigners who are here and who are deliberately and repeatedly rude to Bermudians.
    When are WE to take our island home back???
    Foreigners are dictating too much and it negatively impacts upon Bermudians’ precious lives!!