Bermuda could re-ban gay weddings, months after couples first tied the knot
Bermuda could become the first country in the world to re-ban same-sex marriage.
The first same-sex coupled tied the knot in Bermuda earlier this year, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex unions is a discriminatory violation of human rights.
The Bermudan government subsequently confirmed it would not appeal against the ruling.
However, the issue may not remain settled indefinitely.
An MP has already introduced a bill which would re-ban same-sex marriage in Bermuda.
It was confirmed this week that the issue would go back to the country’s Parliament, where the bill is likely to win support from anti-LGBT lawmakers.
The Royal Gazette reports that government MP Wayne Furbert plans to bring forward his bill next month, where it is highly likely to pass.
Speaking to the Gazette, Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown insisted that the government will work on new ways to protect same-sex couples if equal marriage is overturned.
He said: “Our position is that same-sex couples should have all the legal rights of heterosexual couples, save for marriage.
“If the private member’s Bill is successful, then we will draft and table legislation to ensure that same-sex couples have those rights enshrined in the law.
“At present there is no need for this to be done due to the ruling by Justice Charles-Etta Simmons.
“There already exists a Bill, the Civil Unions Bill, which would have similar elements to what is needed, although it obviously would not be called that.”
Preserve Marriage, the group seeking to overturn same-sex marriage in the country, recently had its charitable status renewed.
Bermudian native Winston Godwin and his Canadian husband Greg DeRoche were the first couple to win marriage recognition in the country.
A change to the law in Bermuda could be a major spanner in the works for cruise liners based in Bermuda.
Bermuda-based cruise line P&O Cruises has already begun taking bookings for same-sex weddings at sea, with ceremonies beginning in January 2018.
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As the company’s fleet is primarily registered in Bermuda, it is able to offer legally-recognised gay unions at sea under Bermudan law.
A new ban on gay unions could force the cancellations of the weddings.
UK law forbids any marriage to be carried out at sea, which is why many cruise companies who wish to perform marriages register in other countries.
The first ceremony is scheduled to be held in the Caribbean in January 2018, aboard the ship Azura.