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Governor will not force same-sex marriage

George Fergusson, the Governor

The Governor, George Fergusson, has no plans to force Bermuda’s hand on the contentious issue of same-sex marriage.

A statement from Government House said it was “unlikely” for a Governor to turn down legislation passed by Parliament specifying that no element of the Human Rights Act could allow same-sex marriage.

“The UK Government has taken a policy position in support of same-sex marriages and legislation to that effect has been passed in England and Wales [and, separately, in Scotland, although not in Northern Ireland]. But it is not something required by the UK’s and Bermuda’s international obligations or by the Bermuda Constitution. It is therefore unlikely that a governor would withhold assent from a Bill on the lines of the one currently before the Legislature, if passed by both Houses.”

Mr Fergusson confirmed Bermuda and Britain had the same obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights.

He said there was no plan or request from Bermuda at present for Britain to send assistance from the Government Equalities Office, as it did before the 2013 amendment to the Human Rights Act, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. But the Governor added: “It would certainly be considered if requested.”

Update: this story has been amended to remove the incorrect reference to the European Court of Human Rights