By Sawyer Pollitt, Staff Writer
On February 8, 2018 the British territory of Bermuda repealed a law legalizing same sex marriage on the small tropical island only a year after the bill was passed.
This unprecedented move understandably outraged the LGBT community on the island as well as those in the world abroad and is generally recognized as a setback in LGBT rights.
Unfortunately for Bermuda, it is the year 2018 and this kind of legislation is a big black mark on their record. They now possess the not so prestigious distinction of being the first government to repeal marriage equality.
As a territory of the United Kingdom, one may expect that they would adopt the same laws regarding civil rights as their mother country.
In the United Kingdom same sex marriage has been legal since March 13, 2014. The first marriage was officiated on March 24, 2014.
However, this is not the case with Bermuda. As reported by the Guardian, authorities in Bermuda claim that due to the large, socially conservative, population on the island, this ruling is necessary to bring balance between public outcry on the island and European and British law.
The issue with this is that there is a major difference between the weight of the public being upset and the civil rights of citizens.
If public outcry was the deciding factor when legislating on rights for marriage equality or other civil liberty issues then things would not have changed as quickly as they have.
Sometimes it takes a vocal minority and progressive leadership to make a change in the world.
It could be the case that the powers that be in Bermuda are simply acquiescing to the majority because it would lighten their workload.
And, of course, they wouldn’t have to deal with petitions presented by protesting people.
They could take the easy way out for them. Bermudian authorities may also have done this because it could help in getting them re-elected.
If that is the thought process behind their decision then that is simply disgraceful.
Denying the rights of a portion of your population to advance your own interests is the kind of thing that shouldn’t be happening in this day and age.
Although as we all know too well, that is still a common occurrence.
An even more frightening prospect is that the legislature in Bermuda actually does not support marriage equality for religious reasons.
This of course, violates the idea that church and state should be separate institutions.
This isn’t a final judgment for the LGBT community of Bermuda however.
Although the battle was lost, the war can still be won for the LGBT community.
There are many ways that this legislation can be reinstated. In this interconnected world we live in, the way that many issues are addressed is through mass protest. By making this a well- known issue, the world community can put the squeeze on the government of Bermuda, and pressure them to take some action.
And hopefully, this would reinstate marriage equality in their country.
Of course it would be wonderful if other nations publicly spoke out against Bermuda for this civil rights violation.
The more likely scenario is that through vast public outcry the situation will become a hot button issue.
And through external pressure from the international community the authorities in Bermuda may make a change.