Bermuda, the eastern Atlantic British territory and vacation hot spot, has repealed its same-sex marriage law in response to opposition to marriage equality by residents of the island.
Governor John Rankin explained that under the repeal, same-sex couples will be able to enter into domestic partnerships, which entitle them to the same legal protections awarded to opposite-sex couples. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Bermuda via Supreme Court ruling in 2017. Previous European court rulings require the same-sex couples receive the same legal protections as their heterosexual counterparts.
Bermuda is the first country in the world to repeal marriage equality.
The British government declined to block the change in the law. 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," said James Slack, a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The decision was met with fierce opposition by advocacy groups and supporters of marriage equality.
Billionaire Richard Branson tweeted, "Bermuda's same-sex marriage repeal is a massive step backwards. Why legislate against love?"
User CyborgK9 said the move "will embolden other nations run by right-wingers to do the same," which raises the question of whether Republicans in the United States will mount Supreme Court challenges to marriage equality. Same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States in 2015 by Supreme Court decree. As a party, Republicans oppose marriage equality and gay adoption rights.
"Take Nothing For Granted," Mario said, calling for a boycott of the island.
In spite of possible disruptions to tourism, the legislation passed both houses of the legislature.
"Governor Rankin and the Bermuda Parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality," Ty Cobb, global director of LGBTQ advocacy group Human Rights Campaign said in a statement to NBC news on Wednesday. "This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda's international reputation and economy. Despite this deplorable action, the fight for marriage equality in Bermuda will continue until the day when every Bermudian is afforded the right to marry the person they love."