Centre For Justice On Partnership Bill Passing

December 10, 2017

While disappointed that “Government chose to roll back full marital equality,” the Centre for Justice said they “were encouraged by a floor amendment giving recognition to all same sex marriages that have taken outside Bermuda prior to the commencement of the Domestic Partnership Act,” and also said it was “encouraging to hear the change of tone in discourse in many speeches given on Friday night.”

centre for justice Bermuda TC Dec 10 2017

These comments follow after the the Domestic Partnerships Act passed in the House on Friday evening, with the Bill aiming to replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Same sex marriage became legal in Bermuda following a Supreme Court decision in May 2017, when the court ruled that “common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.”

“The passing of the Bill came as no surprise. We are not resiling from our disappointment that Government chose to roll back full marital equality,” the Centre for Justice said.

“That said, we were encouraged by a floor amendment giving recognition to all same sex marriages that have taken outside Bermuda prior to the commencement of the Domestic Partnership Act, a recommendation that Centre for Justice and the Human Rights Commission had proposed to Minister Brown during consultation.

“It was also encouraging to hear the change of tone in discourse in many speeches given on Friday night.

“Several MPs acknowledged that this issue highlights a generational gap and philosophical difference between parents and their young adult children whose worldview is more inclusive and progressive. Several MPs recognize and acknowledged that this marital equality will not end with this Bill. Hopefully, Bermuda will get there sooner than later.”

The Bill has now passed in the House, and will head to the Senate for another vote.

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Comments (14)

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  1. O'Brien says:

    A few thoughts, in no particular order:

    1. The Bill not only reverses marriage equality — itself a shameful and wholly unprecedented move — but does so by creating a further exception to the primacy of the Human Rights Act. This is already the second time the nascent PLP government has carved out an exception to the HRA to reverse a supreme court judgment vindicating the rights of a minority group. It is all the more lamentable that these efforts should be led by Mr. Brown, a self-proclaimed champion of human rights. As he should know, the whole point of the quasi-constitution status of the HRA (which presumptively trumps any contrary enactment of Parliament) is to protect it from majoritarian impulses such as those given voice by Preserve Marriage. The HRA is not worth the paper it’s printed on if the government waters it down every time its application proves unpopular.

    2. Supposing the Bill passes the Senate as amended, the situation for gay and lesbian Bermudians will be as follows. There will be a half dozen or so bona fide same-sex married couples under Bermuda law. They will be like members of a highly-endangered species whose numbers cannot grow, but can only dwindle to extinction. For LGBT Bermudians who wish to marry in their country, the message from government is now this: become “domestic partners” or go abroad to marry (and be treated as “domestic partners” on your return). How can they be assured that they are equal members of our society when the government legislates this kind of disparagement and discrimination against them?

    3. Finally, the sanguine outlook put forward by the Centre for Justice above will be little comfort to those Bermudians about to lose their right to marry at home. Moreover, it finds no support in the record of Friday’s debate. Of the overwhelming majority who voted to repeal marriage equality, most had not the decency to explain their vote. Among those who did, a few offered some platitudes about how “future generations” might decide to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage. From this “change of tone,” the Centre of Justice somehow derives encouragement. Sadly, what the MPs were actually saying was: maybe our children will have the wisdom and fortitude to reverse our decision to strip rights from fellow citizens. Talk about insult upon injury.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Very well put .

      Unfortunately , for the most part , it’s like the proverbial casting of pearls before swine .

    • Infidelguy says:

      I agree.

      I also thought to myself that this is the second time that they are passing legislation and giving it primacy over the Human Rights Act. I don’t think many people picked up on that or just didn’t care; and I’m really disappointed that the OBA didn’t highlight it in the debate on Friday.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        Only some people have “human’ rights in Bermuda. And as we have now seen, some people are “more equal” than others.

  2. William says:

    This will go deep and far around the world I know I have told several hundred ,Bermuda is backward Island along with being a tax haven in most folks minds ……we keep trying to close the world out to appease well to do religious fanatics who want their fantasy old school lives in Bermuda to remain the same .

  3. Rocky5 says:

    This shows that the POP are a Conservative Party controlled and run by old Fundamentalist Christians.

  4. spider says:

    I believe this new bill violates the Constitution article 12. Discrimination on the basis of marriage effectively making the bill illegal. It should be challenged.

    • Betty says:

      Oh there will Bermuda is the place when you need easy taxpayer dollars challenge it will be .
      You can’t have a small few will full marraige rights and then the rest with less no matter what law you pass ,challenge and make the Bible bashers pay I say

  5. paperboy says:

    Bermuda: December 2017

    Headline: Our Elected Politicians Take Away Existing Marriage Equality Rights

    Their Motto: No Diversity, No Inclusion

  6. aceboy says:

    Wait until the PLP supporters realize that their great leaders have opened up the door to lots of new status applications….again.

  7. Cow Polly says:

    And so now heterosexuals have the choice of marriage or domestic partnership whereas homosexuals only have the choice of domestic partnership which, like the Bermudian dollar, is only legal tender in Bermuda.

    The only fair and just decision for all Bermudians is to do away with marriage altogether and only offer domestic partnerships for all thereby leveling the playing field and ensuring that there is no second class Bermudian.

    Now politicians, religious zealots and preserve marriage supporters – what do you think of that?

  8. Toronto says:

    It’s all good.
    I domestic partnered my mate here in Toronto.
    Hes going down next month to work for the winter.

    this is awesome. Thanks PLP