Dec. 11 (UPI) — Just months after gay couples in Bermuda were allowed to marry under a Supreme Court ruling, the island country’s government reimposed a ban under a new law.
Member of Parliament Lawrence Scott said the Domestic Partnerships Act of 2017 helps the LGBTQ community by giving gay couples “benefits it has been asking for,” while keeping traditionalists happy because it doesn’t change the the “traditional definition of marriage.”
“As it stands now, they can have the name marriage but without the benefits. But after this bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want,” Scott said, the Royal Gazette reported.
The bill passed Bermuda’s Parliament 24-10.
According to Pink News, Bermuda became the first country to re-ban gay marriage.
Shadow Economic Development Minister Grant Gibbons, who voted against the bill, said it marked a step backwards for Bermuda.
“This is a human rights issue. We are taking away marriage equality rights from the LGBTQ community,” Gibbons said, according to the Jamaican Observer.
Gay marriage has been a controversial topic in Bermuda.
In 2016, 69 percent of voters rejected a referendum to approve gay marriage. But less than 50 percent of eligible voters cast a ballot, making the vote invalid.
But in May, Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé, Greg DeRoche, won a legal ruling in Bermuda’s Supreme Court to allow gay marriages to take place in the country. That paved the way for gay marriages until Friday’s vote.
Those already married before Friday will not be affected by the new law.