Bermuda on Wednesday approved a legislation that would do away with same-sex marriage and replace such marriages with domestic partnerships, the local Royal Gazette reported. Bermuda Governor John Rankin said he gave the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 his assent after “careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the Constitution.”
Walton Brown, the Minister of Home Affairs, brought the legislation before members of the Bermuda Parliament in 2017, and it was passed in December. Since Rankin is the British queen’s representative in Bermuda, his assent was necessary to put the legislation into effect.
The new law was passed after the Bermuda Supreme Court in May 2017 ruled that the island’s Registrar General could not reject a gay couple’s application to marry in the country.
Brown said on Wednesday that the new legislation allows both homosexual and heterosexual couples “to enter into a domestic partnership and gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples”. He said the act included the right to inheritance, the right to a partner’s pension, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner and to live and work in Bermuda as a Bermudian’s partner.
The Home Affairs minister said that the majority of Bermudians do not favour same-sex marriage, hence, the legislation strikes a “fair balance” between those opposed to same-sex marriage and those in its favour. Brown added that same-sex marriages performed before the act was passed will not be annulled.