The UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, decided it was ‘not appropriate’ for the government to veto a decision taken by Bermuda lawmakers to ban same-sex marriage.
Yesterday, the British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic became the first place in the world to repeal a judgment allowing same-sex marriage. It has instead replaced marriage with domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
The Supreme Court of Bermuda heard the case of same-sex marriage in early 2017. Chief Justice Charles-Etta Simmons issued the ruling in favor of it.
Simmons ruled that the Registrar must ‘act in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act’. Ultimately, she declared ‘same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act.’
However, when Progressive Labour Party gained a majority following the July 2017 elections, MP Wayne Furbert announced his intention to introduce a bill banning same-sex marriage.
They introduced the Domestic Partnership Act in November. It passed the House by a 24-10 vote and the Senate by an 8-3 vote.
All it needed after was royal assent from governor Governor John Rankin. It received this yesterday.
LGBTI campaigners had pinned some hope on the fact that island is a British Overseas Territory. As such, Rankin could have declined to sign the law. However, he would need to seek consent from Boris Johnson, the UK’s Foreign Secretary.
‘Not appropriate’ to intervene in Bermuda decision
However, it was revealed in the Commons today that Johnson believed it ‘not appropriate’ to intervene.
Sky News political reporter Aubrey Allegretti tweeted from the Commons: ‘Boris Johnson decided it would “not be appropriate” to intervene to block Bermuda repealing from repealing same-sex-marriage, minister Harriet Baldwin tells the Commons.’
‘@RhonddaBryant asks how FCO ministers will feel when trying to convince Russia or Pakistan to respect LGBT rights and they just end up “laughing” at Britain.
‘FCO minister Harriet Baldwin admits the UK “disagrees with this direction of travel” and wants to “express our disappointment” at Bermuda decision to repeal same-sex marriage.
‘@DavidLammy says he can “see the discomfort on (FCO minister Harriet Baldwin’s) face” as she defends Government’s decision not to intervene
One of those outraged by the revelation was MP Caroline Lucas of the Green Party. She said, ‘This is an absolute scandal. The FCO claims to stand for LGBT+ rights, yet in a territory THEY GOVERN they are waving through the repealing of same-sex marriage. This is a breach of human rights, and the Government should reverse their decision immediately.’
MP David Lammy, posted a video criticizing the decision.
‘For @BorisJohnson to allow Bermuda’s decision to repeal same sex marriage is a source of great shame,’ he said. ‘Bermuda has a deep-rooted history of oppression, segregation & discrimination of Black people. Their Govt’s vote to take away the rights of LGBTQ minorities fills me with despair.’
For @BorisJohnson to allow Bermuda’s decision to repeal same sex marriage is a source of great shame. Bermuda has a deep-rooted history of oppression, segregation & discrimination of Black people. Their Govt's vote to take away the rights of LGBTQ minorities fills me with despair pic.twitter.com/v3N0aSk3qW
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 8, 2018