Same-sex marriage was only legalised in Bermuda in May this year.
Michaela Morgan

6 Nov 2017 - 3:38 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2017 - 3:42 PM

Just months after same-sex marriage was legalised in Bermuda, the country’s government has unveiled a new bill that could replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement, the Royal Gazette reports.

Walton Brown—the Minister of Home Affairs—said the topic of same-sex marriage has been “a prolonged matter of great division in our country.”

Brown is seeking feedback on a new bill that would halt same-sex marriages in Bermuda.

“The purpose of this public consultation period is to gain feedback from the public on the current draft Bill regarding domestic partnerships and answer any questions that anyone might have,” he said.

“Stakeholder groups have already been informed as we seek to move forward in a collaborative way.”

Bermuda voted in a referendum on same-sex marriage in 2016 with the final count showing 69 per cent of those who voted were against same-sex marriage and 63 per cent were against civil unions.

However, the referendum was deemed invalid because less than 50 per cent of the electorate turned up to the polls.

Same-sex marriage was then legalised in 2017 following a landmark Supreme Court case lodged by Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche.

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The first same-sex wedding in Bermuda took place in June between Bermudian lawyer Julia Saltus and her fiancée, Judith Aidoo. 

The Bermuda government says the new bill will “essentially replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.”

“It should be noted that all same-sex couples who are already married will not have this designation taken away from them.”

The two-week consultation period on the bill ends on November 15.

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