Lawmakers in Bermuda have approved a
bill that if signed by the governor would repeal marriage rights for
gay and lesbian couples.
On Wednesday, the Bermuda Senate
approved the bill with an 8-3 vote, less than a week after it cleared
the House of Representatives.
The move comes just months after gay
couples in the British overseas territory gained marriage equality.
In May, a judge ruled in favor of gay couples seeking to marry.
The bill, known as the Domestic
Partnership Bill, would recognize gay couples with civil
Governor John Rankin has previously
expressed his support for civil unions, but has not said where he
stands on the new bill.
“If Governor Rankin signs this
measure into law, it will rip away the right of loving same-sex
couples in Bermuda to marry. That's unconscionable,” said Ty Cobb,
director of HRC Global. “With international business and tourism
as its major industries, Bermuda’s people, international
reputation, and economy would all be harmed by this legislation. It
is crucial that Governor Rankin reject this assault on equality.”
The Bermuda Tourism Authority warned
that the bill would negatively impact tourism.
“We are convinced it will result in
lost tourism for Bermuda,” the board said in a letter to lawmakers.
“While we cannot responsibly estimate what the scale of those
losses will be, we can point to contemporary examples that tell a
According to the Human Rights Campaign
(HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, Bermuda would
become the first territory in the world to take away marriage
equality if the legislation becomes law.