Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal a law allowing gay couples to marry Wednesday.
The historic change comes after Bermuda Gov. John Rankin approved a bill Wednesday that reversed the nation’s 2017 Supreme Court ruling allowing gays to marry, according to the Independent. The passage of the bill followed its approval by both the House and Senate in December. Both chambers approved the bill by wide margins. (RELATED: Island Voted To Legalize Gay Marriage … And Then Changed Its Mind)
Critics say that the move is a direct affront to both the LGBT community as well as a removal of what many deem a civil right for Bermudian citizens. Conservatives applaud the action as a move that affirms and stabilizes a more traditional view of family.
“Governor Rankin and the Bermuda Parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality,” Ty Cobb, the Human Rights Campaign Global director, told the Independent. “This is not equality,” 64-year-old married gay Bermudian Joe Gibbons also said.
“Progress is precious. This should worry us all! #BoycottBermuda” tweeted GLAAD president, Sarah Kate Ellis on Thursday. GLAAD advocates for LGBTQ acceptance and seeks to “shape the media narrative” according to its website.
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) February 8, 2018
Bermuda still allows gay couples to enter into domestic partnerships.
Bermuda minister of home affairs, Walton Brown, said that the move isn’t an attempt to ostracize gay community members but is simply an attempt to balance the widespread opposition to gay marriage which exists on the socially conservative island while ensuring protections to same-sex couples. “The act 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 recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples,” Brown said.
Gay couples who married in 2017, while gay marriage was legal, in Bermuda will not have their legally married status repealed.
Bermuda’s repeal of gay marriage comes after Australia and Austria both voted to legalize same-sex marriage in December. Germany also voted to legalize gay marriage in June. (RELATED: Australia Passes Bill Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage).
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