Campaigner’s praise as Government moves to end sexual orientation discrimination

Equal rights campaigner and former MP Renee Webb said she is pleased Government is going to amend the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation.

Last week Government released a booklet, ‘Resetting the Dial’, to mark the first 100 days of Premier Paula Cox’s administration.

In it Government outlined the progress they have made since November 1, 2010 and announced some of the initiatives they will undertake in the future.

The report states Government will be: “Developing policy changes which will see amendments on the Human Rights legislation including introduction of unreasonable hardship rules and provisions to enable the Minister to make regulations regarding discrimination on the basis of age or sexual orientation will be tabled in the Parliament during the second term.”

Yesterday Ms Webb said: “I am extremely pleased that the Government and hopefully the Opposition have seen that all human beings are created equal and that amending the legislation to include sexual orientation is the right thing to do.

“Nobody should be discriminated against.”

The last time MPs were asked to vote on the issue, in 2006 when Ms Webb tabled a private member’s bill, it failed after MPs gave it the ‘silent treatment’. There was a pledge in the 2009 Throne Speech to change the Act “to ensure that no person is discriminated against in Bermuda” but an amendment has not been tabled.

She said she believed MPs would find it easier this time around to amend the legislation.

“I think the educational campaign that Two Words and a Comma did in 2006 and after was a big help,” she said. “I was one of the founders of the group along with Suzanne Mayall and Ayo Johnson. We met with MPs, they got to hear real life stories of discrimination. I hope that the MPs will have the courage this time to do the right thing, doing the right thing doesn’t take courage.

“I think the Two Words and a Comma advertisements, which showed Bermudians standing up for equal rights, put a face to the issues.

“I think Bermuda has grown up since then and people realise discrimination and repression is not acceptable.

“It has been a long time coming. I think the Premier should be commended for moving forward with this.”

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Published Feb 8, 2011 at 9:34 am (Updated Feb 8, 2011 at 9:34 am)

Campaigner’s praise as Government moves to end sexual orientation discrimination

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