A change to Bermuda’s Human Rights Act prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexuality was passed on Friday, despite concerns that it would override the country’s ban on same sex marriage.
The same day, an amendment to the Act prohibiting same-sex marriage was defeated by the nation’s House of Assembly on Friday, 18 votes to 12.
Wayne Fubert, the MP who tabled the anti-equal marriage amendment, said the Human Rights Act change was controversial as Bermudians were worried it would lead to the adoption of same-sex marriage.
“The majority of Bermudians do not want to be discriminated against based on sexual orientation as far as working and living accommodations,” he said. “But there is no doubt that the majority of Bermudians do not support same sex marriages.”
Although Bermuda’s Matrimonial Causes Act voids any marriage not between an opposite-sex couple, some thought the Human Rights Act might override this.
Bermuda’s Community Development Minister, Wayne Scott, said: “As has been repeatedly reinforced, this amendment is not about gay rights, or same sex rights, it is about human rights, and about honouring the commitment we have made to ensuring against discrimination on this basis.
“To be clear, this government considers marriage to be between a man and a woman only.”