Bermuda same-sex marriage repeal law takes effect

By Michael K. Lavers for Washington Blade

A law that rescinds marriage rights for same-sex couples in Bermuda took effect on June 1, 2018.

The Bermuda Parliament late last year approved the Domestic Partnership Act, which allows same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married. Governor John Rankin in February signed the bill despite strong opposition from local activists and their supporters around the world.

Gays and lesbians had been able to marry in the British island territory since Charles-Etta Simmons, a judge on the Bermuda Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the issue in May 2017. Bermuda is the first jurisdiction in the world outside the U.S. to rescind marriage rights for gays and lesbians.

Linda Mienzer, a long-time LGBTI rights advocate in Bermuda, on Friday told the Washington Blade that she and her wife married before the law took effect. Mienzer also noted a lawsuit challenging the Domestic Partnership Act has been filed.

“This is a sad day,” said Mienzer. “I’m glad my wife and I decided to marry before this law came into effect because it has eliminated future marriages within the LGBTQ community in this country. That is a sad reality and it is my hope the courts will right this injustice.”

Mienzer is among the LGBTI activists who have rebuked calls to boycott Bermuda’s tourism industry over the law.

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