UK MPs raising same sex marriage in House of Commons is ‘talking into the wind’, activist
A human-rights activist doubts that pressure from the UK to amend Bermuda’s same-sex marriage laws will have any effect.
Linda Bogle-Mienzer, added that she thought it unlikely that Whitehall will force the island’s hand on the issue.
Same-sex marriage was legalised in Bermuda in May 2017, but the Government later passed a Bill banning gays and lesbians the right to wed – although civil partnerships are allowed.
After a protracted legal battle, the law was finally upheld by the Privy Council this year.
But a number of UK MPs have raised the issue in the Houses of Parliament in London this month.
On November 3, Labour MP Dan Carden asked David Rutley, the parliamentary under-secretary for the Foreign office, if he had had any discussions with LGBT+ activists here and in the Cayman Islands, where same-sex marriage is also banned.
Mr Rutley replied: “The inhabited British Overseas Territories are separate, largely self-governing jurisdictions with their own democratically elected representatives.
“The relationship with the Overseas Territories is based on partnership. Policy on marriage law is an area of devolved responsibility.
“The majority of Overseas Territories have legal recognition and protection for same sex relationships, either through marriage or through civil partnerships as is the case in Bermuda.
“The UK Government remains open to further engagement with LGBT+ activists and organisations across the Overseas Territories to support increased recognition and protections for same-sex relationships in the Overseas Territories.”
On the same day, Stephen Doughty, the shadow minister for foreign affairs asked Mr Ritter “what the Government's policy is on equal marriage in the Cayman Islands and the other UK Overseas Territories where it is currently not permitted”.
Mr Rutley gave the same answer.
Last week two more opposition Labour MPs and a Scottish Nationalist MP all asked Mr Rutley the same question that had been asked by Mr Carden. Again, Mr Rutley gave the same reply.
Yesterday Ms Bogle-Mienzer said she did not know if opposition MPs in the UK were mounting a campaign to get the law here changed.
She said: “It hasn’t originated from anyone in my circle.”
The union representative added that, because the legal battle had run its course, there was now “nowhere else for us to go”.
She said: “I think it’s just futile really – talking into the wind. The UK government is in a position to make a decision on marriage equality and make the Bermuda Government adhere to that decision, but I don’t think that’s likely to happen.
“The only way we’re going to get things changed is if our own Government – and I would hope it was a progressive one – brought in legislation.”