Legislation to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships was passed in the House of Assembly last night.
The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 was passed following a five-hour debate after a vote in which 24 MPs supported the Bill being reported to the House, while ten opposed it.
Home affairs minister Walton Brown, who introduced the Bill, said it would provide same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevent any further same-sex marriages.
He also confirmed that the legislation would not have retroactive affect on same-sex marriages after the Supreme Court ruling in the Godwin and DeRoche case against the Registrar-General.
In that case, Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the Registrar-General could not reject a gay couple’s application to marry in Bermuda and that the common law definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was “inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation”.
During yesterday’s debate, PLP backbencher Lawrence Scott said the Bill brought balance and gave “the LGBTQ community the benefits it has been asking for”, while keeping the “the traditional definition of marriage”.
He said: “As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this Bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want.”
However, shadow home affairs minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin said she could not support the Bill “having given a community something only to take it away”. She added: “I don’t like to accept that it is OK for us to treat our sisters and brothers differently, whether fair or unfair, to treat them differently under similar circumstances.” Read more via Royal Gazette