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The right of same-sex couples to marry in Bermuda has been repealed and the UK government is under fire for the decision. The elected government of Bermuda approved the change and its governor and a British diplomat signed the legislation into law on Wednesday. The legislation giving same-sex couples the right to marry was introduced just last year following a ruling by the supreme court.

A fair balance

The right to same-sex marriage has been replaced with domestic partnerships which applies to all couples. According to Walton Brown, Bermuda's minister of home affairs, the legislation is meant to create a fair balance by clarifying that marriage is between a man and a woman while also protecting and recognizing these relationships.

The socially conservative island of Bermuda had a referendum on the issue in 2016 but voter turnout was less than the required 50 percent.

European human rights standard

The UK government was asked to explain why Bermuda got approval to repeal the same-sex marriage act. The junior Foreign Office minister, Harriet Baldwin said that while the government was disappointed with the move they had no choice. They have limited powers to influence British territories overseas. She said that careful consideration was given to the Island's international and constitutional obligations and found no legal or constitutional grounds for blocking the repeal. With the new civil partnership law in place, European human rights standards have been met.

Not good enough

Labour MP Chris Bryant responded to the government's explanation said that it was not good enough and that no matter how much they tried to dress it up it was a step backwards for human rights in Bermuda.

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He felt that they were sending a message to the Gay and Lesbian community that they were not equal and that they did not merit full marriage rights. Bryant wonders if the minister had given thought to what happens she tells Russia and other countries to respect LGBTQ rights. Other parties also pressured Baldwin for answers including the Conservatives, the SNP, and the Liberal Democrats.

Legal in 26 nations

Bermuda has made history by being the first country to reverse the legalization of same-sex marriage which is legal in 26 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Spain, Columbia, Iceland, United States and South Africa. It is legal in the UK with the exception of Northern Ireland.