Bermuda’s Senate today approved a bill that will take marriage rights away from gay people, following the House’s approval earlier this week. All that remains is for the governor to sign it.
Senators approved the Domestic Partnership Act by an 8-3 vote. The House of Assembly approved it 24-10 on Friday. It must now be signed by the governor before it becomes law in the Atlantic ocean territory.
A Supreme Court ruling in May made same-sex marriages legal in Bermuda amid opposition on the socially conservative island. The ruling Progressive Labor Party took up the matter after winning power in the July election.
The Supreme Court of Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage last May in a case brought by Toronto-based Bermudian and Canadian gay couple, Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche (above), who preferred to marry in Godwin’s home country Bermuda.
Seeing boycotts and protest on the horizon, Bermuda’s Tourism Authority issued a statement before the vote.
“Since last Friday’s vote, we have seen ample evidence of negative international headlines and growing social-media hostility towards Bermuda that we feel compelled to express our concern about what the negative consequences could be for tourism if the Domestic Partnership Bill passes the Senate this week. We believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry.
“We urge you to vote no and appreciate the opportunity to lay out the reasons why. Importantly, we do not view domestic partnerships as a negative in isolation. In fact many jurisdictions permit domestic partnerships without adverse impacts on their economies.
“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. We are convinced it will result in lost tourism business for Bermuda.”
“If Governor Rankin signs this measure into law, it will rip away the right of loving same-sex couples in Bermuda to marry. That’s unconscionable,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “With international business and tourism as its major industries, Bermuda’s people, international reputation, and economy would all be harmed by this legislation. It is crucial that Governor Rankin reject this assault on equality.”