Full Video: Debate In UK On SSM In Bermuda

January 29, 2018

[Updated] The Adjournment Debate in British House of Commons on same sex marriage in Bermuda is scheduled to place place today [Jan 29], with MP Chris Bryant due to speak on the matter; with the Labour MP having already made his position clear, previously asking that the UK Minister to “tell the Bermudian Parliament very firmly ‘no way, we are sticking with same-sex marriage.”

Full Video Adjournment Debate TC Jan 29 2018 2

The Domestic Partnerships Act — which is designed to replace same-sex marriages with a domestic partnership — passed in the House of Assembly, then passed in the Senate on December 13th, 2017.

The Bill was went to the UK-appointed Governor for assent, which is generally seen as a formality, however it has been a topic of speculation and discussion in this case, and the Governor has not yet signed the Bill.

Bermuda’s Constitution does not stipulate a time frame for assenting to Bills, and the last statement from Government House said the “Governor is continuing to consider” the Bill and is “taking legal advice as appropriate.”

The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office [FCO] previously said: “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.”

On January 25th, Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown tweeted, “When the UK government selectively embraces a seeming commitment to human rights for its colonies the scent of hypocrisy hangs heavy.”

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The matter was also recently discussed by the British Foreign Affairs select committee, with Commonwealth Minister Lord Ahmad being asked what decision he has made about “Bermuda and same sex marriage,” and you can watch the exchange in the video below.

Lord Ahmad said, “We are clear where we stand on the issue of same-sex marriage, it is the human right of any individual to have that right. That point has been made in no uncertain terms to the Premier and he is aware of the British Government’s position on that.”

When asked “will the Governor sign it on the British Government’s behalf or not,” Lord Ahmad replied, “Our Governor is the representative of the UK, and he will reflect the views of Her Majesty’s Government.”

He was then asked if “that’s a no, he won’t sign it,” and Ben Merrick, the Director of Overseas Territories, interjected to say, “We discussed the issue with the Minister, but also the Governor at the moment, because it is important also that it is based on the constitution of Bermuda and the legal position. So we are very clear that this is an important issue. It has not been finalized yet, but we are certainly aiming to do that shortly.”

The Adjournment Debate does not follow the same style as in Bermuda’s Parliament, where any MP can speak on any topic during the Motion to Adjourn, with the Adjournment Debate in the British House of Commons having topics scheduled in advance.

According to the official UK Parliament website there is a half-hour adjournment debate at the end of each day’s sitting, which serves as an “opportunity for an individual backbench MP to raise an issue.”

MPs apply for an adjournment debate to the Speakers Office on a Wednesday for the following Tuesday to Monday, and the Speaker chooses the Thursday debate, for other days debates are allocated by ballot.

The MP who has been allocated the debate is then called to speak and the Minister is given time to reply. The MP who initiated the debate does not have the opportunity to speak again after the Minister has concluded. Other MPs may attend and make interventions if they are accepted.

The official UK Parliament website states the sitting hours for the House of Commons on Mondays are 10.30am – 6.30pm [Bermuda time], so we anticipate having coverage of the Adjournment Debate this evening.

Update 5.51pm: The 30-minute live video replay of the full debate is below

We will have coverage of this later on, however to note, there was no firm statement made on whether the Governor will, or will not, give assent, they said they are still considering the matter. You can watch the full debate above and we will update with a transcription as able.

Update 9.36pm: The full transcription is posted here.

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Comments (38)

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  1. Jus' Askin' says:

    The scent of independence hangs heavy ;-)

    • Ok says:

      So much to look forward to….lol.

    • Zevon says:

      Walton Brown criticising the UK on human rights because it is debating the fact that Bermuda is legislating to restrict human rights. What a total hypocrite.

  2. Onion says:

    Walton Brown is in no place to accuse anyone of hypocrisy. He should resign.

    • Vote NO SSM says:

      You call it love but 2 men in one bed is crazy. So many bloggers but yet on Preserve Marriage Demonstration At Parliament, May 25 2017 only a few showed up supporting SSM. Compared to the thousands that where saying NO!


      • PBanks says:

        “2 men in one bed” – the Stubbs bill passed before the turn of the century, we gotta get past our hangups on what consenting adults are up to in private. This is about access to the legal construct of marriage, let the discussion be about that.

        • frank says:

          p I would nor expect you to understand your mind and
          thoughts became tainted a long time ago

          • PBanks says:

            Please explain or withdraw your bizarre comment, frank.

      • LONG LIVE says:

        By saying no to SSM you are not taking away the legal right for “2 men in one bed”. I think you are clueless to what a decision on SSM will do. You are not making being gay illegal, you are not making gay pride parades illegal all of the things that you are afraid of are and will still be legal. If SSM is banned I hope there is a rise in gay pride parades. I hope they become more open in public I hope everything that you are afraid of become more open. By saying no to SSM you are only taking away the legal rights that are associated with marriage. You are discriminating, period.

  3. Roma says:

    WALTON BROWN has defined hypocrisy in this matter with his significant about-face and he’s castigating others for it?!?


    • Not sure I understand this comment says:

      Gay people exist in every shape, size, race, nationality.

      Perhaps bigotry is the more appropriate term

  5. Real Deal says:

    Bermuda is on its up trying to get morals corrected and family values strengthened yet these people intend to slow us down with what they want for a our children and future generations.

    I say Bermuda will decide what will be adopted by it’s culture and when its time for culture to change it will do so naturally and not by the force of any past or present.

    Our Culture is what protects us from the horrors of the world they know this and this is why they are trying to break us.

    • Common Sense says:

      So let me get this straight. Being gay is not against the law in any way in Bermuda, but we have now decided to prohibit gays from entering into monogamous marriages in which one promises to love, honour and obey their partner till death do them part. But in the heterosexual community we allow those who have taken this oath to commit adultery which is not an offence in any way even though the Bible is quite clear on the issue.

      When I last checked my bible it was not only an abomination to commit adultery, it was also specifically laid down in the Ten Commandments – “Thou shalt not commit adultery” – and the punishment for breaching this commandment is death.

      We have numerous adulterers in Bermuda who can sit in church every Sunday with not a shred of guilt, and re-marry as many times as they wish with not one word of condemnation. Perhaps Real Deal considers adultery to be part of our culture because I absolutely guarantee that no member of Parliament will ever stand up in Parliament to condemn adultery, and seek to ban adulterers from re-marrying.

    • PBanks says:

      “Our Culture is what protects us from the horrors of the world” -what? The ‘horrors of the world’ are already on our doorstep, save for all-out war. The so-called seven deadly sins, as the religious-types say, they’re already happening here.

      As for ‘family values’, we have a long way to go in that department. Stopping gay people from marrying isn’t going to reduce the adultery, child or spousal abuse, stealing from our parents/relatives, illegal drug usage. Come on now.

  6. San Patrick says:

    Please read the Bermuda Constitution Order 1968 for what it is worth. This is a country of laws. The Governor should be recalled for his antics. It should be expected that man’s perversion will ultimately trump all else.

  7. Common Sense says:

    The issue of “2 men in a bed” was settled in law way back in 1994 with passage of The Stubbs Bill which was fully supported by all of the then leaders and future leaders of the Progressve Labour Party. Ironically it was the PLP Leader, The Hon L. Frederick Wade who denounced the then “Christian Coalition” for their hateful comments on the subject. Is this beginning to sound familiar? Oh that the present leaders of the PLP had the same fortitude.

    And just for the record, the PLP leaders who voted for the Stubbs Bill were The Hon. L. Frederick Wade, Dame Lois Browne-Evans, The Hon. Alex Scott, Dame Jennifer Smith, and The Hon. Ewart Brown, all of whom went on to lead the PLP. Dame Lois also castigated those who stood against the human rights of gays, and she would no doubt do exactly the same if she was still with us today.

    Denying gays the right to legal marriage does absolutely nothing to change the law regarding homosexuality. NOTHING. What it clearly does is to deny equal human rights to a minority of our population at a time when most progressive countries have granted or are granting equal human rights to our brothers and sisters in the gay community.

    • Bill says:

      And for the record the oba/UBP didn’t give you squat for rights. Former Premier Mike Dunkely didn’t even show up to vote so people could see what side of the fence he was on. What a coward.

      • move on, the ball is now in the Bda Gvt court says:

        stop the blame game–who cares what Dunkley did or didn’t do—but he didn’t rescind rights granted legally by the court of the country.

        Way to much spin and finger pointing around this place. The PLP have had their beauties too–enough nonsense for both parties to last all of us people that have to pay for it 500 life times.

        Wouldn’t it be great if all the hate and complaining were focussed into positive energy with a view to fixing the problems of the country.

        Blessings abound!

        • Rego says:

          At the end of the day he had the power to decided the GAME. He gave you nothing and you still voted for him. Now who’s the bigger fool :)

      • Zevon says:

        So what. The PLP are the ones repeatedly legislating to restrict human rights.

        • Captain obvious says:

          That is a point that they cannot deny. But one must remember that we have two plps now so who knows what the heck will happen around here.

      • LOL says:

        So right he didn’t do anything for the Country. Accept blow smoke and smile at people.

      • Heyyy says:

        Jeanne Atherden, Jeff Baron, Michael Dunkley, Grant Gibbons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Susan Jackson, Trevor Moniz, Leah Scott, Cole Simons and Ben Smith opposed the Bill taking away the rights to SSM established through the courts. So Dunkley did vote.

        • PBanks says:

          I think by that point, it was moot what Dunkley did. The OBA, when in power, made a royal hash of things with an ill-advised referendum and the former Premier should take responsibility there.

          But what’s done is done. A situation that neither the pro marriage equality side, nor the Preserve Marriage group side, are happy with, is now in existence. Time will tell if this unhappy medium was the way to go.

  8. bdaboy says:

    “Dunkely didn’t even show up to vote so people could see what side of the fence he was on. What a coward.”

    You’re right….anyone who didn’t bother to get off their a$$ and vote is a coward……over half of the electorate falls into this category.

    What it reveals is that the majority of bermudians are greedy, selfish and hypocritical.

  9. Same Love says:

    Michael Dunkley abstained as he “stared at his shoes”….

  10. oba disaster after disaster.
    That G. went along with ALL oba stuff.
    The tables have turned.
    The electorate decides!!

  11. Hmmm says:

    Chris Bryant well put!!!! This gentleman makes the Bermuda Government look like a bunch of hillbillies!!! The job of a democracy is to protect the minority!!!!

  12. Hmm says:

    Only people with small brains are against SSM

    • Stop whining says:

      Why cares about this issue? Really? We have bigger problems to solve instead or worrying about gays being married. Put this where it belongs in The Who gives a crap file and focus on the budget and other things that really matter like health costs. This has been a distraction at best.

      • Mike Hind says:


        We have FAR more important things to deal with.

        Why are Mr. Brown and Mr. Furbert continuing with this?

        We settled it. The court ruled on the law and showed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the way it was was discriminatory and wrong, so we changed it.

        Why are they bringing it up again when there are so many more important things to deal with?

        This is just bad governance.

  13. facts of the rock says:

    This stupid Bill wont be paid for by the Guv.