‘Equal’ but NOT equal.
Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. This comes after the British territory’s governor, John Rankin, signed into law a bill reversing the right of same-sex couples to marry, even if in 2017, a supreme court ruling authorized marriage equality.
As blatant proof that the move was to cave in to conservatives, Walton Brown, Bermuda’s minister of home affairs, was quoted as saying that the legislation would balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the still socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.
Bermuda’s Senate and House of Assembly passed the legislation in December 2017, but a majority of voters opposed same-sex marriage in a referendum.
This is “intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples,” Brown was quoted as saying.
The difference may seem to be just in name (“marriage” versus “civil partnership”), since couples in a registered domestic partnership will still have “equivalent” rights to those of married heterosexual couples, including the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner. But the move is unprecedented since no other jurisdiction has taken away the legal right to marriage after it has been granted.
Already, a call for a boycott of the territory is making the rounds, using the hashtag #BoycottBermuda.