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More companies sign list backing same-sex marriage

The list of companies publicly supporting same-sex marriage has grown, with a raft of new additions after an article in The Royal Gazette earlier this week.

We reported on Wednesday that 58 businesses — from bars and luxury hotels to law firms, global banks and brokerages — appeared on the online directory of “diversity-friendly” firms.

And our story prompted many more to contact marriage equality campaigner Tony Brannon. As of last night, another 35 companies and organisations had asked to be added to the list.

Many business owners offered words of support for the campaign for marriage equality, which got a boost last week when the Chief Justice ruled that a new law outlawing gay marriage was unconstitutional.

Zoë Hanson, director of Zobec Trust Company, told Mr Brannon in an e-mail: “Zobec, as a local Bermuda business owned and run by Bermudians, fully supports same-sex marriages.”

Elaine Murray and Richard Hartley, from the Irish Linen Company, e-mailed: “Who doesn’t love a beautiful rainbow?”

John and Alison Young, from the Ledgelets Cottage Colony, wrote: “We stand proudly with you and all the other businesses.”

T.J. Armand, executive director of the Bermuda Festival, said: “I am happy to confirm that Bermuda Festival of the Performing Arts would like to join the list of diversity-friendly organisations and businesses. Thank you for your efforts to build this list.”

Mr Brannon said he was thrilled the list was growing, as the island waits to find out if the Government will appeal the most recent Supreme Court ruling.

“The continued affront to deny marriage equality by the Bermuda Government must be resisted at every level,” he said.

Our article prompted the removal of the Bermuda National Library from the list, after a request from the director of the Department of Libraries & Archives.

The director explained in an e-mail to Mr Brannon that the library should not have been included because “as a government department it is not appropriate for us to publicly advocate for a public policy position that is contrary to that of the government of the day”.

She added: “The library has been and will continue to be a supportive and welcoming place for all Bermuda residents, regardless of their religion, political views, sexual persuasion or gender identity.”

Mr Brannon said the library was added a year ago when he first created the list, because he mirrored one maintained by the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda. Its “rainbow-friendly directory” — set up in 2012 — lists social spaces, shops and services which welcome gay people, as well as local resources for them.

One international company on Mr Brannon’s list is cruise giant Carnival, which registers many of its ships in Bermuda and was offering on-board same-sex marriages until the law banning gay marriage, the Domestic Partnership Act, came into force on June 1.

Carnival part-funded the recent court challenge against the DPA.

According to Pink News, Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said this week that the company was delighted with the Chief Justice’s ruling.

“We will now be working closely with the Bermudan (sic) authorities to understand when we will be able to resume marrying same-sex couples on board,” he was quoted as saying.

Chris Bryant, a UK Labour MP, raised the court judgment in the House of Commons the day after it was delivered.

He said on June 7: “A British Government in Westminster should not abrogate to themselves powers willy-nilly, but why are the Government adamantine about not intervening when human rights issues affect British citizens?

“It was the same in Bermuda: the Government refused to say anything about same-sex marriage being banned, but the Supreme Court in Bermuda decided yesterday that the British Government were wrong and that same-sex marriage should be reintroduced.”