Bermuda becomes the first country to repeal same-sex marriage

The British island territory has become the first country in the world to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage 

Bermuda has become the first country in the world to legalise and then repeal same-sex marriage.

The British island territory has swapped marriage for domestic partnership for LGBT couples in a move much criticized as an attack on equal rights.

The Bermuda governor said that the new reflects the opposition to same-sex marriage among votes.  

The governor approved the bill reversing the right of gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage.

Gov. John Rankin said he was seeking to balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.

“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,” Rankin said

LGBT civil rights groups have now said that domestic partnerships amounted to a second-class status and it was unprecedented for a jurisdiction to take away the legal right to marriage after it had been granted.

“Governor Rankin and the Bermuda parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality,” said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global.

“I feel enormously disappointed,” said 64-year-old married gay Bermudian Joe Gibbons. “This is not equality, and the British government has obviously just said, ‘This is not our fight.’”

Couples in a registered domestic partnership will now have “equivalent” rights to those of married heterosexual couples, including the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner, Rankin said.

About half a dozen same-sex marriages that took place in Bermuda between the supreme court ruling in May 2017 and the repeal will continue to be recognised under the new law.

The supreme court ruling on marriage equality in May 2017 was celebrated by Bermuda’s small gay community, but it also outraged many on the socially conservative island, including church leaders, and thousands protested outside parliament.

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