Companies back same-sex marriage
Dozens of companies across Bermuda have lined up in support of same-sex marriage and joined a list of “diversity friendly” businesses.
A total of 58 businesses — from bars and luxury hotels to law firms, global banks and brokerages — have signed up, with several new additions since last week's Supreme Court ruling in favour of gay marriage.
Same-sex marriage activist Tony Brannon said: “People are asking to join the list. Right now, it seems to be catching on. We seem to be adding to the list every day.”
Jay Correia, from the Swizzle Inn, which signed up on Monday, added: “We are proud to be on the right side of history.”
Campaigners set up the list to underline how many island firms are in favour of marriage equality. The Reefs hotel joined the list yesterday, along with the Phoenix Stores group and department store Brown & Co.
Real estate firm Kitson & Company, the Rosedon Hotel and its Huckleberry Restaurant joined the list on Monday.
Mr Brannon explained some business owners had told him they supported the campaign for marriage equality but wanted to do so “quietly”.
But he challenged them to stand up for what they believe in and add their names to the list.
Mr Brannon highlighted cruise giants Carnival, which registers some of its fleet in Bermuda, as an example of a company doing the right thing.
The shipping firm gave financial and public relations support to the plaintiffs involved in the court battle for same-sex marriage.
Many international firms with a presence on the island, such as insurance company AIG, have supported LGBT rights elsewhere, but stayed silent on them in Bermuda.
But Mr Brannon hoped they would have the courage to join the list in the wake of Chief Justice Ian Kawaley's ruling last week and a Supreme Court judgment last May, which first paved the way for gay couples to marry on the island and on Bermuda-registered cruise ships around the world.
Mr Brannon said: “I'm not going to stop until Premier David Burt knows many companies have joined the list.”
Mr Justice Kawaley's ruled that the new Domestic Partnership Act — which outlawed gay marriage and came into force on June 1 — was inconsistent with constitutional protections giving the right to freedom of conscience and outlawing discrimination on the basis of creed.
Walton Brown, the home affairs minister, said the Government would appeal “subject to any legal advice we receive”.
The Government has six weeks to decide whether to appeal before the Mr Justice Kawaley's judgment takes effect.
Mr Brannon said: “They are mad not to just accept this. They have lost two Supreme Court cases. There is the politics of it all but I hope at the end of the day what the Premier does is accept the legal advice.”
Mr Brannon predicted some international companies might vote with their feet if the Government continued to try to reverse marriage equality in the face of a barrage of criticism in Bermuda and overseas.
The full “Equality List” is here and below:
Artisan goods Marrakesh Market
Atlantic Caregiving Ltd
Aunt Nea's Inn
Bermuda Executive Services Ltd
BGA — Bermuda General Agency
Bermuda Linens & Gifts
Bermuda Musical & Dramatic Society
Bermuda National Gallery
Bermuda National Library
Bermuda Podiatry Center
Bermuda Society of Arts
Brown and Co
Daisy & Mac
David Rose Jewelry
Devil's Isle Cafe
Elbow Beach Hotel
Family Practice Group
Frog & Onion
Hamilton Princess & Beach Club
Hartley's Under Sea Adventures aka Hartley's Helmet Diving
Kitson & Company Ltd
Marshall Diel & Myers
Phoenix Drug Stores
Pitt & Co
Rock Island Coffee
Segway Tours Ltd
Taste One Four One
The Big Chill
The Loren at Pink Beach
Tims Pools LTD
Tucker's Point Dive and Watersports
Two & Quarter Photography Ltd
Willis Towers Watson
• Any business owner wanting to join the list should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org