Gays to get human rights protection

Government will amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation during the new Parliamentary year.

Community Affairs Minister Dale Butler confirmed that the long awaited amendment will probably be brought to the House of Assembly during the summer term.

  • Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Affairs Dale Butler

    Minister of Youth, Sport and Community Affairs Dale Butler


Government will amend the Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation during the new Parliamentary year.

Community Affairs Minister Dale Butler confirmed that the long awaited amendment will probably be brought to the House of Assembly during the summer term.

It was conspicuously absent from the Throne Speech, which was unveiled on Friday and kicked off Government?s Social Agenda.

Mr. Butler said: ?It should have been there. There was a line that was left out.? Other human rights law changes to be made include broadening the definition of disability, another prohibited ground of discrimination, to include obesity, learning disabilities and mental illness.

The sexual orientation amendment will make it illegal to deny someone housing or employment, based on whether they are gay or straight.

Mr. Butler announced in April that he planned to make changes to the Human Rights Act to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Mr. Butler said the changes should allow members of the community to be more vocal about their concerns.

?The changes will take us out of the dark ages and create an awareness about living openly rather than hiding these things in the closet,? said Mr. Butler.

Nicky Bowers, spokeswoman for the Bermuda Rainbow Alliance, welcomed the news then, saying gays wanted protection if they were fired from a job or evicted from their home on the basis of sexual orientation.

?Just being included in that way under the human rights act adds value to people?s lives as well as having the power to change how gay people in this community live,? she said.

However, it is likely that the move will draw criticism from some religious denominations who waged a public fight against ?the Stubbs bill?, which decriminalised homosexuality in 1994.

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