For the first time in history, a country has repealed same-sex marriage rights. It’s been less than a year since Bermuda legalized same-sex marriage and now, they’ve suddenly reversed course in a shocking and unprecedented new law that states same-sex couples can enter domestic partnerships but not marry.
The British territory’s Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in May 2017 but, within months, legislatures passed a bill overturning the decision. That bill was signed into law on Wednesday. As the Associated Press reports:
"Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said the legislation signed by Gov. John Rankin seeks to balance opposition to same-sex marriage on the socially conservative island while complying with European court rulings that ensure recognition of and protection for same-sex couples in the territory.”
Of the estimated 63,000 residents of the country, only "about a half-dozen" same-sex couples married during the window that it was legal, according to state records, and these marriages will continue to be recognized under the new law. While the British government could’ve blocked the territory from enacting the law, they chose not to. As the BBC reported:
“Prime Minister Theresa May said she was 'seriously disappointed' about the decision to abolish same-sex marriage,” but she added: 'That bill has been democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, and our relationship with the overseas territories is based on partnership and respect for their right to democratic self-government.'”
GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis has responded to the unjust and hurtful” news with the following statement:
"As the world faces a resurgence of anti-LGBTQ activism, Bermuda just earned the shameful recognition of becoming the first national territory to strip away marriage from loving and committed LGBTQ couples."