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Marriage counter demonstration planned

Duelling peaceful demonstrations are being organised to take place today on the topic of same-sex marriage.

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda have announced plans to hold a “peaceful counterdemonstration” in celebration and support of marriage equality in response to a previously announced demonstration by Preserve Marriage in support of marriage as being between a man and a woman.

A spokesperson for the Rainbow Alliance said yesterday that the organisation was originally

created to make space for LGBTQ voices in the community, and by publicly supporting same-sex marriage, the organisation hopes to help normalise same-sex relationships and create more safe spaces on the island.

“By coming out for a peaceful counterdemonstration we are making sure that the voices of Bermuda's LGBTQ+ community are heard,” they said.

“We would like to invite everyone to help us celebrate marriage. Whether it be same-sex marriage or opposite-sex marriage. Marriage is a relationship that many people aspire to achieve and have in their life, including members of Bermuda's LGBTQ+ community.

“The recognition from the court that same-sex couples have the right to marry in Bermuda is another step ensuring the LGBTQ+ population of Bermuda have the same rights and legal protections as their heterosexual counterparts. It should be celebrated and supported by all. Supporting marriage for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples helps Bermuda move forward to acceptance of all persons as one community.”

Meanwhile, a flyer for the Preserve Marriage event has urged people to “show up or forever hold your peace”, stating: “One should not decide for all. Stand for the future culture of our children and grandchildren.”

Social media posts in favour of the Preserve Marriage demonstration called for 4,000 people to attend.

A police spokesman said that it is aware of the demonstrations, and a policing plan has been developed to accommodate a peaceful gathering without impeding access to the building.

“The public can expect to see an increased police presence in and around the House of Assembly to assist with managing the anticipated activity,” the spokesman said.

“The plan is to keep the streets open around the House of Assembly, but this may change if the need arises. The media will be kept informed of our plans, and the public can receive updates via our social media feeds. Business owners in the vicinity, and anyone planning to attend those businesses, should plan for additional activity in the area.”

The spokesman added: “We anticipate that any activity in relation to this public demonstration will be conducted peacefully and lawfully and any questions in this regard should be directed to the Operational Planning Unit on 247-1362.”

The demonstrations come in the wake of a ruling by the Supreme Court opening the door for same-sex marriage on the island. Both demonstrations are expected to be begin at 12.30pm today outside the House of Assembly. However as of last night, organisers noted on the Rainbow Alliance Facebook page that they were still awaiting confirmation from the Speaker of the House that they will be allowed to hold their event at the site.

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Same-sex marriage supporters and Preserve Marriage demonstrators at the grounds of Cabinet during a demonstration last year (File photograph)

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Published May 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm (Updated May 25, 2017 at 4:58 pm)

Marriage counter demonstration planned

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