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Britain called on to veto Bermuda's ban of same-sex marriage

'We should always do what is right, not necessarily what's easy.'

Britain called on to veto Bermuda's ban of same-sex marriage
Bermuda couple Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche took their fight for marriage to the country's Supreme Courr earlier this year | Photo: Rainbow Alliance BDA | Twitter

Britain’s foreign ministers are being called upon to veto a ban on same-sex marriage in Bermuda.

The island nation and British overseas territory passed same-sex marriage in a court ruling in May.

But, tragically, just six months later they overturned that ruling and passed ‘civil unions’ instead.

Should Britain veto Bermuda’s ban on same-sex marriage?

For Bermuda to officially ban same-sex marriage, it requires the signature of British Governor John Rankin.

While this is normally a formality, under ‘exceptional circumstances’ he can veto the bill.

In parliament on Saturday, Labour MP Chris Bryant said Bermuda ‘must uphold British values and principles”.

‘A British citizen, regardless of what part of Britain they’re from, should have the same rights,’ he said.

‘We should always do what is right, not necessarily what’s easy.’

Winston Godwin, a gay Bermudian who won the original court battle, called on Rankin to use his powers to stop the bill.

‘In such a position we should always do what is right, not necessarily what’s easy,’ he said in a statement.

‘This bill effectively states that you are a second-class citizen because of who you love, and creates increased division within an already very divided country and within a minority all at once.’

But it appears the UK is reluctant to stop it.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: ‘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.’

LGBTI groups are ‘disappointed’ in Bermuda

Bermuda LGBTI group Rainbow Alliance said it was: ‘Disappointed the Government of Bermuda has taken the approach it has to remove marriage equality from the law.

‘We are in agreement with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that the proposed legislation creates a “watered down” version of rights, leading to a separate but equal status under the law. Ultimately, no separate but equal measure allows for equality or justice.’

A spokesperson for the local human rights organization Centre of Justice issued a statement saying: ‘The passing of the Bill came as no surprise. We are not resiling from our disappointment that Government chose to roll back full marital equality.’

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