Published On: Tue, Jan 23rd, 2018

UK stalling on Bermuda same-sex marriage u-turn

john_rankinHAMILTON - The governor of Bermuda, John Rankin, has still not signed a bill from the territory’s Senate that overturned the islands’ previous and short-lived same-sex marriage legislation, replacing it with domestic partnerships. The UK’s overseas territories minister, Lord Ahmad, told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee last week that the change of heart by Bermuda’s premier was of “deep concern to us” as the British government remains committed to same-sex marriage as a human right.

According to reports in the Bermuda press, it is not clear that Rankin is going to sign the new legislation, which was passed in the Senate on 13 December.

Answering questions last week in the UK before the committee, Ahmad said, that he had raised the issue directly with Bermuda’s premier when they met just after the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council meeting and that “they know of our deep concern in this respect”.

He said Britain was “clear where we stand on the issue of same-sex marriage, it is the human right of any individual to have that right. That point has been made in no uncertain terms to the premier and he is aware of the British government’s position on that.”

But the peer who has responsibility for all the territories has not said whether or not the governor will assent or not.

“Our governor is the representative of the UK, and he will reflect the views of Her Majesty’s Government,” he said. Though he pointed to Bermuda’s constitution and the legal position surrounding that, he noted that the governor takes his instructions from London.

“I’ve got deep concerns about what happened there,” he added.

Last month, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office told Bernews, “The UK government is a proud supporter of LGBT rights and continues to support same-sex marriage. While the UK government is disappointed with the implications of this bill, this is a matter for the Bermuda government acting within the terms of the Bermuda constitution and in accordance with international law.”

Republished with permission of Cayman News Service

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