This Country Is the First to Repeal Same-Sex Marriage

It's a first that shames Bermuda, critics say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 8, 2018 5:33 AM CST
Bermuda Becomes First Country to Repeal Same-Sex Marriage
"Governor Rankin and the Bermuda Parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality," says Ty Cobb, director of the Human Rights Campaign Global.   (AP Photo/Armando Franca)

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. (More Bermuda stories.)

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