UK 'disappointed' at Bermuda's same-sex marriage ban

LONDON — The U.K. government expressed disappointment Thursday that Bermuda has abolished same-sex marriage, but said it would have been wrong to overturn the decision by the British island territory.

Bermuda's Senate and House of Assembly passed legislation replacing same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships in December, and the island's U.K.-appointed governor, John Rankin, signed it into law Wednesday.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesman, James Slack, said Britain was "seriously disappointed" by the decision, which reverses a 2017 court ruling legalizing gay marriage.

But he said it would not have been right for Britain to block the move.

He said the bill "has been democratically passed by the Parliament of Bermuda, and our relationship with the overseas territories is based on partnership and respect for their right to democratic self-government."

Some opposition politicians criticized the government, saying Britain should have intervened to prevent the change, which they called discriminatory. Labour Party foreign affairs spokeswoman Helen Goodman said the legislation was "shameful" and "turns same-sex couples into second-class citizens."

Foreign Office Minister Harriett Baldwin said "after full and careful consideration" the government had decided not to block the legislation.

She said Britain's powers to intervene with laws in its overseas territories "can only can be used where there is a legal or constitutional basis for doing so, and even then only in exceptional circumstances."

Must Read

Fans mourn pop's George Michael as charities...

Dec 26, 2016

Fans are mourning the death of pop star George Michael as British charities praise his generosity

George Michael mourned by boyfriend, ex-boyfriend...

Dec 27, 2016

George Michael's former partner and his current boyfriend have both spoken of their sadness at his...

Jamie Oliver to shut 6 UK restaurants in tough...

Jan 6, 2017

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is shutting six of his 42 Jamie's Italian restaurants in Britain amid...

'A truly magnificent talent:' actor John Hurt...

Jan 28, 2017

As a self-described "old drunk," the actor John Hurt nonetheless had a half-century career...

Singer Vera Lynn to mark 100th birthday with new...

Feb 2, 2017

Singer Vera Lynn is making plans to mark her 100th birthday with the release of a new album...

Sign up now!