Preserve Marriage: No price is too high for doing what is right
A pressure group which fought to end marriage equality in Bermuda is still “absolutely” against same-sex weddings but no longer raises funds, its chairman said.
Melvyn Bassett of Preserve Marriage and Family said the organisation – no longer a registered charity – hoped the Government would succeed with its appeal to the Privy Council in London this week, when judges will decide whether or not to reinstate a gay marriage ban.
Dr Bassett added: “I don’t know how it will end, but we haven’t changed our position.
“That’s what the Government wants. That’s what we want.”
He claimed: “That’s what the people of Bermuda want, the vast majority of them.
“That’s why the Government is involved. It’s what the people want, the people of Bermuda.”
Preserve Marriage began campaigning against same-sex marriage and civil unions in 2015.
It gained charitable status the next year but was unsuccessful when it applied for renewal in 2017.
The Charity Commissioners decided not to renew partly because its purpose was ruled “unlawful” after a Supreme Court decision allowed gay people to marry.
The Commission said it was believed the group would cause “more detriment than benefit” by appearing to “single out and victimise” people based on their sexual orientation.
But Walton Brown, then the home affairs minister, overturned the commissioners’ decision and granted charitable status.
The organisation had earlier joined the Supreme Court proceedings as an “interested party” on the Government’s side and been left with a legal bill.
Dr Bassett said last week: “We ceased being a charity a couple of years ago, I guess.
“I think we had paid off our debt. There was no need to raise any more funding. We raised over $200,000.
“We have thousands of members. That’s why we were able to pay off the legal bill.”
Dr Bassett said the organisation now spent “more time praying” than campaigning.
He added the group no longer held meetings because of the pandemic, but still communicated with members by e-mail and offered “various kinds of family support, but not as a charity”.
Dr Bassett said the Government took the case to Bermuda’s highest court of appeal because it understood during the 2017 election it was critical factor for many voters.
He added the high cost of the case was justified.
Dr Bassett asked: “The cost of doing what is right, is there a price to pay? Is there a price to pay for doing what is godly, morally right?
“The principle is we are generally a godly society. Same-sex marriage is contrary to God’s plan for man and woman.”
He said damage caused to Bermuda from having marriage equality since 2018 "can’t be quantified“.
Dr Bassett added: “But those of us who do not believe in same-sex marriage are trying to preserve our children and our posterity.
“We are Christians. Christians believe in moral standards and same-sex marriage is contrary to our beliefs.”
The former school principal said the Privy Council decision would be “the end of the road” for the long-running controversy.
He said: “That’s it.”
Preserve Marriage is still listed as an active firm with the Registrar of Companies.
Its directors were listed as Gary Simons, a former pastor of Cornerstone Bible Fellowship, and Mark Hall.
But Dr Bassett said Mr Simons was no longer involved.
He added that he, Mr Hall and Anthony Philip were the directors at present.
But Dr Bassett said: “There is no need for directors.”