Bermuda’s Governor John Rankin put an end to speculation today, when he announced that he has signed into assent Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership Act.
In a statement released this afternoon, Governor Rankin stated: “With the introduction of the Domestic Partnership Act, Bermuda – an associate member of CARICOM – will be amongst the first English-speaking Caribbean islands to introduce and pass a law that provides legal recognition to same-sex couples.
“The Domestic Partnership Act permits any couple (heterosexual or homosexual) to enter into a domestic partnership and gives same-sex couples rights equivalent to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples; rights that were not guaranteed before the passage of this Act.”
The statement continued: “The rights now guaranteed under the Domestic Partnership Act include: the right to inherit in the case of no will, the right to a partner’s pension(s), access to property rights, the right to make medical decisions on behalf of one’s partner and the right to live and work in Bermuda as the domestic partner of a Bermudian.
“While the majority of Bermudians do not agree with same-sex marriage – as evidenced by the referendum – it is the Government’s belief that this Act addresses this position while also complying with the European Courts by ensuring that recognition and protection for same-sex couples are put in place.
“The Act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.
“Same-sex couples already married under Bermuda law before the commencement date of this Act will continue to be recognized as being married. Also, any overseas same-sex marriages taking place before and during the transitional period will also be capable of recognition as marriages in Bermuda.”
Governor Rankin concluded: “Bermuda will continue to live up to its well-earned reputation as a friendly and welcoming place, where all visitors, including LGBT visitors, will continue to enjoy our beauty, our warm hospitality and inclusive culture.”