Lawmakers on the island of Bermuda have voted to abolish the country’s recognition of same-sex marriages and replace the unions with “domestic partnerships”.
The Domestic Partnership Act 2017 was introduced this week and passed both the country’s House of Assembly and Senate. It must be signed by the governor before it becomes law.
Same-sex marriage was originally achieved in Bermuda in May, after Winston Godwin and his fiancé Greg DeRoche (pictured) challenged the rejection of their marriage application in the Supreme Court.
The law change won’t annul the marriages of any same-sex couples who have already wed, but those who want to tie the knot after the law is approved will only be able to access “domestic partnerships”, with government MPs citing a lack of support in the country for the reform.
Heterosexual couples would be able to choose between a marriage and registering a domestic partnership under the law.
Godwin told local outlet Bernews this week after the first vote that the proposed law change was a shame “after such a long fought battle”.
“I’m truly sorry that this is the climate and reality we face,” he said.
“To the LGBTQ community and its allies… despite what our Government says with its vote, you are loved. You are respected. You are worthy.”
Local LGBTI group Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda were disappointed by the government’s move.
“The proposed legislation creates a ‘watered down’ version of rights, leading to a separate but equal status under the law,” the group said.
“Ultimately, no separate but equal measure allows for equality or justice.
“It’s unfortunate the Government sees fit for Bermuda to become the first jurisdiction globally to have marriage equality rescinded.
“This is not the international reputation that our country should strive for.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority also warned lawmakers of consequences for the country’s tourism industry if the measure becomes law, citing backlash against US states that have signed anti-gay laws.