Senate Approves Domestic Partnership Bill

The Finnish Parliament approved a legislative proposal to introduce equal marriage rights in a vote on Friday which will enter into force

The Domestic Partnerships Act passed in the House of Assembly late on Friday night, and headed to the 11-member Senate, where the five Government Senators, three Opposition Senators and three Independent Senators cast their votes.

ONLY MONTHS after gay couples in Bermuda were allowed to marry under a Supreme Court ruling, the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP), in power for nearly five months, has reimposed a ban on same-sex marriages in the Caribbean country.

The bill will not repeal same-sex marriages that have occurred in the last six months following the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in May, after Bermudian native Winston Godwin and his partner Greg DeRoche brought their case to court.

The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 will replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships, it was introduced this week and approved with 24 politicians voting in favour of the rollback and just 10 voting in favour of marriage equality. The referendum was not binding because of low turnout.

On the other side, Preserve Marriage, an anti-LGBTQ organization that, despite its name, wants to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples, lobbied against the bill, calling it "an introduction of a parallel form of marriage".

The Bermudian parliament is set to pass a ban same-sex marriage, several months after a gay couple won the right to marry in court.

"We need to find a way in Bermuda to fully embrace greater rights for all members of the community", Brown said.

"As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits", Scott said.

Supporters of LGBTQ rights said that the bill was "shameful".

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown introduced the legislation as a compromise. "If that bill passes, same-sex couples have no rights whatsoever".

Shadow Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons, who voted against the bill, said it marked a step backwards for Bermuda.

"The circumstance in Bermuda is different - and troubling - in one important way: same-sex marriage is already the law of our island and to roll that back for what will be seen as a less equal union will cause us serious reputational damage".

MP Wayne Furbert said, "I support it because at the end of the day it removes the right to same-sex "marriage" and it tells the court that this Parliament will stand for what is right".

"While same-sex "marriage" enjoys wide support within the United States, it is comparatively rare worldwide", the Salon report continued.

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