Same-sex marriage issue stirs passions
The virtues of traditional marriage versus equal rights for all prompted plenty of discussion as pressure group Preserve Marriage held its “peaceful demonstration” yesterday lunchtime.
Hundreds packed the grounds of the Cabinet Building as the group submitted its objectives against civil unions and same-sex marriage to members of the Bermuda Government.
It was not just members of Preserve Marriage who showed up — there was a sea of rainbow-coloured flags, a symbol of the LGBT community, flying towards the back of the crowd with placards calling for “love and equality”.
The messages on the placards of Preserve Marriage included: “Redefining marriage will make moms and dads optional” and, “We do not hate anyone”, likely a response to suggestions that supporters of “traditional marriage” are bigoted and spout hate speech.
Theresa Harney-Zuill says she is dedicated to the Preserve Marriage cause. “I can see it from all sides — this isn’t against anyone because of who they choose to love,” she said. “I know there are single mothers; I have been a single mother, but the influence of that male on the child is needed.
“I have friends who love the same sex and that is fine. But when it comes to redefining what marriage means, I believe that totally now changes the whole of society.
“I became a Christian a few years ago — it is part of it but it is also my own true belief.”
Jordon Ess, a member of the LGBT community, turned up to the grounds with rainbow-coloured tape across his mouth. “I am for every human being having human rights,” he said.
“I found the Preserve Marriage campaign hurtful. It was important for me to be here today to show that rights are for everyone. This [the tape] is to signify being silenced by people who want to say, ‘We don’t hate you but we don’t think you deserve to live as an equal citizen in our country either’.”
There were many young members of the community who came out to let their beliefs be known.
Aminah Simmons, 17, said the issue “strongly affected” her generation.
“I firmly believe that marriage should stay between a man and a woman. It is crucial to how we raise our children and how children perform in school. I am here to make a stand for my generation and for those that are afraid to stand up.
“A child should have the experience of a mother and a father. They bring two different things to the table — a mother brings nurture and love, and father brings protection and guidance.”
Jessie Powell, 16, a member of the LGBT community, wanted to stand up for the rights of herself and her friends.
She said: “You often hear Bermudians talking about how they want to move forward and give Bermuda a better image but then they don’t want to allow people to love each other. I don’t belong sometimes.
“They say they want people to be treated as equal but they are being judged on their sexual orientation and they are being very hypocritical in my opinion.”
Maria Mcleod Smith said she believed Bermuda was on the cusp of change.
“It [same-sex marriage] will happen in Bermuda quickly and it will be very good for the economy,” she said.
Husband and wife Jason and Cindy Samuels have two children and believe the best for any child is to be nurtured by a “traditional” married couple.
Ms Samuels said: “Marriage should be a union ordained by God. I raised my children with Christian beliefs. If you give same-sex marriage the same definition, it will reorder society. You can call it something else — a civil union.”