‘Thankful’ Preserve Marriage plans to rebrand
A pressure group set up to fight same-sex marriage has welcomed the news that the Governor has signed an Act to outlaw gay weddings.
But OutBermuda, a gay rights group, said that it was only a matter of time before same sex marriages were reintroduced.
Melvyn Bassett, chairman of Preserve Marriage, said the group was “thankful” that Bermuda had backtracked on a legal decision last May that paved the way for same-sex marriages and introduced civil partnerships instead, which will also be open to heterosexual couples.
Dr Bassett said: “Although Preserve Marriage does not condone any legal union which may provide legal footing for same-sex marriage, we do wish to commend the Government on being the first and only government in the world to reverse the laws on same-sex marriage.”
Preserve Marriage broke its silence on the row two days after John Rankin gave Royal Assent to the controversial Act, which sparked an international backlash and calls for a boycott of Bermuda.
Dr Bassett said that the European Court of Human Rights did not impose obligations on countries to introduce equal access to marriage, but did expect states to recognise same-sex relationships, which was fulfilled by the Domestic Partnership Act signed by Mr Rankin.
Dr Bassett added: Preserve Marriage will continue to educate the public as to the importance and benefits of traditional marriage to the society.
“We are also committed to ensuring that the definition of marriage between a man and a woman remains in this country. Our aim is to continue to support families by working with other community groups that support healthy marriages and healthy families.
“To that end, Preserve Marriage has begun efforts to change its legal name to Preserve Marriage and Family.”
A spokesman for OutBermuda said: “OutBermuda recognises that our country is on a journey towards greater acceptance of LGBTQ people and families.
“This is not the first time a legislature has intervened to overturn a court ruling which supports marriage equality. It happened previously in Hawaii and in California.
“We believe lasting change on the issue of marriage equality requires us to work within the broader community to change hearts and minds, to reverse the perception that marriage equality is somehow detrimental to our island.
“This can and will be done.”
The spokesman added: “We are encouraged by expressions of support both locally and internationally for Bermuda's lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer people, and extend our tremendous gratitude on behalf of the community here.
“Marriage equality is a goal, but it is not the only goal.
“We encourage our allies to reach out as we continue to promote and support the wellbeing, health, dignity, security, safety and protection of the LGBTQ community in Bermuda.
“While we are disappointed, we are not powerless.”