The number of countries in the world allowing same-sex marriage has gone down rather than up with the passage of a new law in Bermuda. The island—technically still a self-governing British territory—legalized gay marriage last year in a Supreme Court ruling, but the right was rolled back after legislation passed Bermuda's Senate and House of Assembly by wide margins, the Guardian reports. Almost two-thirds of Bermudans who voted in a 2016 referendum rejected same-sex marriage, though the result was declared invalid because turnout was below 50%. Under the new law, same-sex Bermudan couples will be offered domestic partnerships that give them similar rights to married 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 recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples," says Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown. Critics, who had lobbied the British government and the island's British-appointed governor to block the new law, called the move a shameful repeal of civil rights, the AP reports. Only around six same-sex marriages took place between the May 2017 legalization and the repeal, and they will continue to be recognized under the new law.