Ellen DeGeneres has urged fans to boycott Bermuda after it became the first country in the world to repeal marriage equality.
Last May, the island nation’s Supreme Court ruled that a registrar’s decision to deny a marriage license to a same-sex couple was discriminatory.
But lawmakers responded by creating the Domestic Partnership Act, which allows same-sex couples to form separate “domestic partnerships” – instead of marriages – that the government claim offer equal rights.
DeGeneres took to Twitter to slam the decision and shared a link to a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a court case against the Bermudan government.
“Bermuda just banned marriage equality. I guess I’m canceling my trip. Anybody else?” the talk show host wrote.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 7, 2018
Same-sex couples have until the end of May to wed in the country before the new measure goes into effect. Same-sex couples who are already married in Bermuda will remain married.
Bermuda’s Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown said, “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.”
But critics say the country’s denial of marriage equality is in violation of Bermuda’s constitution, which protects against discrimination.
Local LGBTIQ group Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda said the domestic partnership legislation creates a “watered down” version of rights and exists to “placate conservative religious lobbyists.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president of LGBTIQ advocacy organisation GLAAD, said Bermuda’s repeal of marriage equality “is a demeaning and unnecessary strike against loving and committed LGBTQ couples in Bermuda as well as others around the world who would consider vacationing there.”
Ellis said tourism contributed $431 million to the island’s economy in 2017, and “pressure from the tourism industry could have tremendous power if they collectively speak out for marriage equality.”
“It is now imperative for international businesses that play major roles in Bermuda’s economy, such as cruise lines and the travel industry, to make their voices heard,” she said.
“Several cruise lines that bring tourists to Bermuda not only contribute largely to Bermuda’s tourism industry and economy, but they have long histories of standing with and marketing to LGBTQ people.”