Bermuda Governor Expected to Sign Bill to Re-Ban Gay Marriage

Bermuda Governor John Rankin is expected to sign a bill to re-ban gay marriage, passed by its legislature this week, according to Premier David Burt. Burt made the remarks in an interview with Bernews (above).

“I expect that the governor will ratify the bill of the parliament,” said Burt. “I think history will remember it by a government that chose to be courageous when other governments have failed.”

The Royal Gazette adds:

The man whose court victory paved the way for same-sex marriage in Bermuda said it would be a “monumental symbol” if the Governor refused to give assent to an Act designed to replace same-sex marriage with watered-down domestic partnerships.

Winston Godwin said: “It sends a message that you not only believe in equality of all people but that you disagree with the stripping of rights.”

Mr Godwin was speaking after Senate members on Wednesday voted 8-3 in favour of the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaces same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships.

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.”

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