Bermuda has become the first country in the world to repeal same-sex marriage, less than one year after it was legalised.
Bermuda’s governor has signed into law a bill reversing the right of same-sex couples to marry, after a supreme court ruling in May 2017 legalised equal marriage.
The bill, brought through by the island’s house and senate, replaces same-sex marriage in the British territory with domestic partnerships.
Bermuda governor John Rankin said that the civil partnerships act grants same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, however it does not permit same-sex couples to legally marry.
Minister of Home Affairs in Bermuda, Walton Brown, said in a statement: “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 recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.”
Same-sex marriage was legalised in the country after the Supreme Court ruled in favour of an LGBT couple who sued for equal marriage rights. Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche filed the lawsuit after their marriage application was declined.
In an Instagram post, Winston Godwin said: “To the LGBT community, this is not a defeat. While Greg and I were the face of this case, we represented every single one of you, and helped to give a voice to those that didn’t have one. Because of you, we were able to make a difference in the lives of 8 couples, and that’s something that shouldn’t be understated or forgotten…
“As we all know, equality doesn’t happen overnight.”
People on Twitter were quick to react, with many expressing support for same-sex marriage, including residents of the island itself.
As a Bermudian, I'd like to let the world know that Bermuda is better than this. The people behind the decision to reverse same sex marriage have hearts of stone & clearly have a selective view of civil rights and the religion they profess to follow. Love will prevail. 👬👭🌈💒✊— Timothy T Lee (@timtrimingham) February 8, 2018
So, Bermuda has gone backwards and taken away Marriage Equality. It's such a sad day for the people of Bermuda. I can only imagine how the LBGT people there are feeling, it is horrible. This seems like a never-ending fight.#Bermuda #MarriageEquality #GayRights— Evan (@EvanSomers) February 8, 2018
One user pointed out that the law was repealed during LGBT+ History Month.
Some users have even called for a tourist boycott of the country due to the reversal of the law.
#Bermuda was at the top of my list for my March vacation, but since the shameful decision by @BdaGovernment to strip away marriage rights from same-sex couples, I will spend my $$$ elsewhere! I hope all #LGBTQ friends and allies do the same! 🏳️🌈✊🏽#BoycottBermuda https://t.co/95o52OZSiK— Marie Ferguson (@MsMarieFerguson) February 8, 2018
Welp, guess I'm not going to Bermuda anytime soon, now that they REPEALED same-sex marriage. #BoycottBermuda— Peter Paige (@ThePeterPaige) February 8, 2018
One person pointed out that the fact the law passed in the first place was a good thing.
The fact that Bermuda had legalized gay marriage in the first place shows what’s possible. The fact that Bermuda has now repealed gay marriage shows how much work there’s still to do.🏳️🌈 #BoycottBermuda— sree sreenivasan 谢瑞睿 is looking for #BestTeacher (@sree) February 8, 2018
Same-sex couples already married in Bermuda before the law was reversed will continue to be recognised as legally married. This will affect around eight couples.
During a debate in Parliament, Foreign Office minister Harriet Baldwin said: “We are obviously disappointed about the removal of same-sex marriage in Bermuda.”
She added it would “not be appropriate” for the UK government to overrule the decision.