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Preserve Marriage granted charitable status

The group advocating against same-sex unions, Preserve Marriage Bermuda, has been granted charitable status by the Registrar General having passed “the public benefit test”.

The confirmation letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs, seen by this newspaper, approves the registration of charity No 983 for the period of one year only.

Objections were made about the group's application this week, including one from a hair salon director who said the group's message was “a departure from equality and growth and a complete violation of human rights”.

According to the Registrar General's website, a charity “must provide an actual ‘benefit' to the public they serve, which is identifiable and is capable of being proved by evidence, if necessary, and is not based on personal views.”

The Charities Act 2014 sets out a definition for “charitable purposes” which includes the “advancement of human rights or the promotion of equality and diversity” as well as the advancement of religion, education, citizenship and community development. It says other purposes can be deemed charitable if they fall within the spirit of those listed in the Act.

The correspondence from the Registrar General included an “aide-memoire”, a copy of the relevant section of the Act and a copy of the regulations.

The letter read: “Please read these carefully as they will assist your executive committee in fulfilling some of its most important obligations. It should also be noted that whenever there are changes in the names of the officers, the Registrar General should be informed within thirty days of such changes.

“Members of the organisation's executive should familiarise themselves with the requirements of the Charities Act, 2014.

“We remind you that charitable organisations must have purposes which are for the public benefit, determined by the ‘public benefit test'. Detailed guidance as to the operation of the public benefit test can be found on the Registry General's website. Additionally, a charity's activities must be pursued solely in furtherance of those purposes.”

Preserve Marriage was founded by Melvyn Bassett, the former executive director of the now defunct sports facility Sandys 360, and was registered as a limited liability company in December.

The other directors are Gary Simons from Cornerstone Bible Fellowship, and Mark Hall from Word of Life Fellowship. Lawyer Kyle Masters is the secretary.

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities. As we are legally liable for any slanderous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers

Stating their case: Preserve Marriage demonstrators out in the streets in February (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published April 09, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated April 09, 2016 at 10:59 pm)

Preserve Marriage granted charitable status

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