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Generation gap over gay marriage

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Voice of youth: Dwayne Robinson, left, and Trae Cannonier

The removal of the right to same-sex marriage highlights a massive generation gap in Bermuda, young island commentators said yesterday.

Dwayne Robinson, of online current affairs show It’s That Type of Party, said the Domestic Partnership Act “very clearly” highlighted the age divide on the issue.

He said: “The older generation holds tight to their faith and religious beliefs. The older generation embodies ‘Bermuda is another world’ and they will fight to protect that.

“Younger folks are much less traditional and have been exposed to a collective, progressive mindset that most millennials tend to share.”

Trae Cannonier, Mr Robinson’s co-presenter on ITTP, agreed.

He said: “Most of us were raised in some form of religious household — however, as we’ve grown our mindsets have changed.

“I’m not going to say that our generation is more open-minded but I would say we have instant access to significantly more information than our parents did.”

Mr Cannonier’s father, One Bermuda Alliance MP Craig Cannonier, voted for the new Act.

But Trae Cannonier said he and his father had always separated their political viewpoints from their personal relationship.

He added: “He very much respects my opinions and admires my ability to think for myself as that’s what he raised me to do.

“We disagree a lot but are still able to do so respectfully and we still remain as close as ever.”

Mr Robinson said that the duo was disappointed by the new Act but not surprised.

He added: “We know that Bermudians like to stay in their bubble and for the status quo to remain the same.

“That’s one of the main reasons our youth are running out of this country the first chance they get.”

Mr Robinson predicted the watered-down option for gay couples would “stain” Bermuda’s reputation overseas.

He said: “We feel that the repercussions will be felt a bit further down the line when the word begins to spread.

“The PLP may find itself in a similar position of the previous government with an unsatisfied group of citizens knocking on their door.”

Mr Robinson said ITTP would back any non-violent bid for marriage equality.

He added: “The next step is for us to join in with other advocates and continue to try and make a change.

“We don’t want this to turn into a clash of conflicting mentalities but into a chance to gain mutual understanding.”

Civil rights group the Centre for Justice also said the change in the law was not a surprise — but it was still disappointed that Government “chose to roll back full marital equality”.

The comments came after MPs on Friday voted 24-10 in favour of the Bill to replace same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships.

But the Centre for Justice said it was “encouraged” by an amendment that gave recognition to all same-sex marriages celebrated outside of Bermuda.

The organisation also said it was encouraged by the “change of tone” in many speeches made by MPs during the debate in the House of Assembly.

The Centre for Justice added: “Several MPs acknowledged that this issue highlights a generational gap and philosophical difference between parents and their young adult children whose worldwide view in more inclusive and progressive.”

Justin Mathias, chairman of the Future Bermuda Alliance, the youth wing of the OBA, said the legislation was a “sad day” for Bermuda.

Mr Mathias added: “For us to be this close to being the first country to renege on same-sex marriage is baffling.”

He said: “There is a huge generational gap with many issues in our country, but on this single issue I believe it is at its greatest.

“The younger generations are far more progressive and believe that everyone within our community should have equal rights under the law.”

He added the majority of FBA members backed same-sex marriage.

Mr Mathias said: “The one thing we unanimously agree on is that it isn’t right to take away rights that have already been given to people within our community.

“We are in a new age and the world is changing.”

Eron Hill, of youth group Generation Next, did not respond to requests for comment.

On occasion The Royal Gazette may decide to not allow comments on a story that we deem might inflame sensitivities or discontinue them when the discourse is lowered by commenters to unacceptable standards. As we are legally liable for any libellous or defamatory comments made on our website, this move is for our protection as well as that of our readers.