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Deeper worries blamed for low voter turnout

Low turnout at last week's referendum shows that Bermudians have deeper worries than same-sex unions, according to the LGBTQ group OUTBermuda.

While voters turned down both same-sex marriage and civil unions, too few showed at the polls for the referendum to deliver an official answer.

OUTBermuda, a charity for advocacy and education, said it underscored that “the majority of Bermudians have more pressing concerns, which are not at present being addressed”.

The group took Thursday's referendum as testament that most Bermudians did not feel personally affected by issues pertaining to same-sex families.

“OUTBermuda rejects the suggestion that Bermudians lack the will and sophistication to address the multitude of issues affecting our community in a unified way,” its statement added.

“Equally, we do not believe that by supporting LGBTQ equality the community will neglect to address issues such as violence and antisocial activity, unemployment and economic inequalities, to name a few.”

The referendum's outcome emerged early in the vote counts, showing roughly half as much support for same-sex unions as those who came out against.

OUTBermuda said it did not see the figures as a defeat, pledging to continue advocacy — including to support what the group prefers to term marriage equality.

Support shown in recent weeks for LGBTQ people had been “unprecedented” in numbers and diversity.

While “yes” votes had fallen short of expectations, OUTBermuda's statement pointed to similar precedents elsewhere.

“We recognise that before there was marriage equality across the United States, there was Proposition 8 in California, which had been supported by the majority of voters there. Proposition 8 did not create a permanent barrier to LGBTQ equality, but instead galvanised support for it. The outcome of yesterday's referendum will equally not create a permanent barrier to LGBTQ equality in Bermuda.”

OUTBermuda thanked those that had sought “to better understand what it means to legally recognise the lesbian and gay families living on our Island”.

Low turnout: OUTBermuda says it does not see last week's referendum on same-sex marriage and civil unions as a defeat despite the results (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published June 28, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated June 28, 2016 at 7:47 am)

Deeper worries blamed for low voter turnout

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