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Bermuda is banning same-sex marriage, months after legalising it

Bermuda is banning same-sex marriage, months after legalising it
14 Dec
2017

Gay marriage is being banned in Bermuda, just six months after it was brought in.

Officials in the British Overseas Territory voted on Wednesday to overturn the law.

Their decision has had a mixed reaction on the island, with one shadow minister calling it "shameful".

Same-sex couples will still have the legal right to partnership, and those who have already married will keep their status.

The Senate approved the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaces the right to marriage with the ability to form same-sex partnerships, by a vote of eight to three.

To become law it still needs to be signed off by the governor, but most people view that as just a formality.

Government Senate Leader Kathy Simmons said the bill reflected "the majority sentiment", according to local paper The Royal Gazette.

"We have a bill that gives rights to the minority. It also protects the interests of the majority," she is quoted as saying.

Same-sex marriage was only legalised in Bermuda in May.

But since coming into power in July, the Progressive Labour Party has been seeking to revert it - with support from many socially conservative churches.

Opposition politicians have argued that banning gay marriage will damage Bermuda's reputation and tourism industry.

The island has a population of just 65,000, but gets around 600,000 visitors every year, figures from its tourism authority show.

"On a global scale, Bermuda has and continues to rely on our power to attract nations and people to our shores and our culture," says Jeffrey Baron, shadow minister for national security.

"How utterly shameful."

MP Michael Dunkley added he was "disappointed" in the government.

"Throughout history, if we hadn't stood for minorities the world wouldn't have progressed," he said.

"So many politicians legislate for the next vote, not for future generations."

LGBT group The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda said: "We are tired of having to prove our humanity, we are tired of accepting half-measures on equality."

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