Bermuda officially abolished its same-sex marriage law that had been passed just less than a year ago, according to The New York Times. The island is a British territory, but parliament chose to leave this decision up to the island’s government.
This is an enormous setback for LGBTQ+ equality. An LGBTQ+ group on the island claims the new act is just a “‘watered down’ version of rights,” according to The New York Times. It is believed that Bermuda is the first ruling in the world to reverse course on same-sex marriage after permitting it, according to The Guardian. This sets a precedent that governments can repeal the basic marital rights of their citizens.
The initial passing of the same-sex marriage law in Bermuda was a huge milestone for the socially conservative island, according to NPR. Though same-sex couples married in Bermuda will retain their married status, however, this change invalidates any LGBTQ+ individual hoping to marry in in the future. “Eight same-sex marriages that took place in Bermuda between May and now will remain recognized under the new law” according to The New York Times.
Bermuda, as a popular tourist destination, will lose “same-sex couples who can no longer get married on their ships,” as reported by CNBC. Conferring to the new “Domestic Partnership Act” Bermuda has adopted and implemented into law, couples can now only achieve the label of “domestic partnership” if they wish to have rights associated with their relationship, according to The New York Times.
Regrettably, “some rights” is not good enough for 2018. The act of marriage is more than just a way to receive benefits by entering the union. It’s more than being recognized by the law. Marriage for the LGBTQ+ community means that their lives—and their sexualities—are being validated and recognized.
We cannot continue to support our LGBTQ+ community without acknowledging that their rights are valid across the globe. Bermuda’s behavior is unacceptable and extremely concerning.
Britain has jurisdiction over the territory, and Bermuda still relies on Britain for “defense and for representation in the international community,” as reported by The New York Times.
According to a broadcast reported by NPR, “Britain may now find it harder to promote LGBT rights around the world when it has failed to do so in one of its own overseas territories.”
By allowing a territory to enact a heinous and discriminatory act, Britain has proven that even progressive countries still have a long way to go when it comes to preserving basic human rights. Britain should be held responsible for Bermuda’s actions and do more to fight for the rights the LGBTQ+ community deserves.
“Human rights are not compromisable,” Greg Godwin-DeRoche said, who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community in Bermuda, according to The New York Times. This could not be more accurate, and Bermuda and Britain should consider this moving forward.
It is essential the countries that have already legalized gay marriage continue to make members of their nations feel safe and protected. Removing liberties from individuals is absolutely unacceptable, and instead, passing laws for equal rights should be a standard among all nations.