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Update same-sex views

Wayne Furbert has been taken to task by a teenage student

Dear Sir,

Despite Bermuda’s passing of legislation that introduced discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation being about 13 years behind the rest of the developed world, I’m sure people island-wide celebrated this new development. Besides its obvious benefits for non-heterosexual people, the legislation also proved that Bermuda wasn’t stuck in the dark ages, and was capable of the simple act of bringing their laws closer into alignment with the universal declaration of human rights. I say we brought our laws closer because we still fall short in many areas; we are stuck in a foggy purgatory between continuing to be suffocated by traditionalist ideas that are long outdated, and adopting a new, more open-minded view that the rest of the world seems already to have embraced.

I’ll spare readers from my own opinions on same-sex marriage (total support, by the way) and simply address the issue from a legislative viewpoint. MP Wayne Furbert announced in a video interview on February 16 that he aimed to bring a Bill to the House, a Bill that I argue is specifically designed to introduce a discriminatory clause into an Act whose very purpose is to prevent discrimination.

He said: “We put in there ‘Except For’, the idea that a male and female are the only ones who are able to get married in Bermuda.” I doubt that I have heard a more contradictory proposition in my life — to introduce exclusionary words into an Act created for inclusion. That new clauses must be added to documents specifically to keep up the status quo should be cause for concern, and if this Bill is passed by the House, the ideal image I have of a positive and dynamic Bermuda — tolerant and willing to change with the times — may forever remain a fantasy. I feel that it is time for Bermuda to take a step back and see how it wants to be remembered in the future; as a country desperately holding on to discriminatory Bills, or one accepting of all people — a feature that economists forget about when discussing things that could increase tourist traffic on island.

The time has come for the One Bermuda Alliance and Progressive Labour Party to both change their views on this matter, or for a new party that young people on island can believe in to rise up, since no politicians at the moment — through fear or actual belief — are as socially liberal as many young people would like.

If Mr Furbert wants to add a clause to the Human Rights Act, let it be that discrimination should also be outlawed on the grounds of gender identity, as this is a subject the island is yet to move into the 21st century with, or even address.