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Furbert silent on same-sex Bill

Wayne Furbert

Junior Minister of Finance Wayne Furbert has refused to say when he will retable his Parliamentary Bill to outlaw same-sex marriage.

It is the second time Mr Furbert has dodged questions on the status of his Private Member’s Bill.

Mr Furbert said shortly after the Progressive Labour Party election win in July that he planned to retable the Bill in September — and expected it to pass.

But the proposed legislation, which Mr Furbert said was a contributing factor in the PLP election landslide, has still to be tabled in the House of Assembly.

The same Bill was passed by MPs last year, but blocked in Senate. If it passed in its current form, it would not need the approval of the upper house to become law.

But The Royal Gazette reported in September that due to a constitutional technicality, senators might be able to again turn down the bill in the Senate.

Section 38 (2) of the Bermuda Constitution allows Bills passed by the House of Assembly in “two successive sessions” to be presented to the Governor for assent, even if rejected by the Senate in each of those sessions.

But lawyer and former Attorney-General Mark Pettingill said at the time: “The Constitution refers to two successive sessions of the House. I think on any reading of it, it is arguable that this is the third successive session.”

Mr Furbert was given the position of Junior Minister of Finance earlier this month — replacing Vance Campbell.

Mr Furbert had no portfolio until David Burt, the Premier, made the switch.