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BERMUDA

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Age of Consent Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

The Criminal Code Act 1907 provides that consensual sex in private between same sex couples is lawful at age eighteen (18) years (Section 177 (3)) and for opposite sex couples at age sixteen (16) years (Section 181) [L1.1].

R1.1 Criminal Code Act 1907 PDF 840.19kb, 09 JAN 12 (Accessed 03 NOV 12)
Asylum, Immigration, Migration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1.

Courts & Tribunals

On 07 December 2015, Chief Justice Ian R C Kawaley in the Supreme Court found that only administrative changes were required in the application of offending sections of the immigration legislation - to the extent that they authorise the minister or deny the permanent same-sex partners of persons who possess Bermuda status residential and employment rights - suspending his 27 November 2015 declaration until 29 February 2016 [R1.3].

On 27 November 2015, Chief Justice Ian R C Kawaley in the Supreme Court ruled that the applicant Bermuda Bred Company was entitled to a declaration that 'Sections 25 [27, 27A] and 60 of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 shall be inoperative to the extent that they authorise the Minister to deny the same-sex partners of persons who possess and enjoy Bermuda status, and who have formed stable relationships with such Bermudians, residential and employment rights comparable to those conferred on spouses by the said sections 25 and 60 respectively [C1.2], [R1.1].

R1.3 TheRoyalGazette: Same-sex partners to get rights in February 07 DEC 15
C1.2 Judgment: Bermuda Bred Company v. The Minister for Home Affairs and The Attorney General 2015 No. 40 pdf 489.08kb 27 NOV 15
R1.1 TheRoyalGazette: Groundbreaking same-sex ruling 27 NOV 15
Civil Unions, Partners: Domestic, Registered Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [Marriage]
1.

National

On 23 June 2016, Bermudians overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages and civil unions. The final count, at around 4am 24 June, showed that 69 per cent of those who voted, or 14,192 people, opposed same-sex marriage, with 6,514 voting in favour. That means out of 44,367 registered voters, 31.99 per cent were against, with 14.68 per cent in favour. Meanwhile, 63 per cent voted against civil unions in the second question. That equates to 29.31 per cent of registered voters, with 17.19 per cent voting in favour [R1.2].

On 11 May 2106, a formal notice was published in the Official Gazette confirming that the referendum on same-sex marriage and civil unions will be held on 23 June [R1.1].

R1.2 TheRoyalGazette: Voters roundly reject same-sex marriage 24 JUN 16
R1.1 TheRoyalGazette: Campaigners prepare for same-sex referendum 12 MAY 16
Discrimination Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Section 2 of the Human Rights Act 1981 provides that discrimination is unlawful on the grounds of race, place of origin, sex, marital status, disability, religious beliefs, but not age or sexual orientation [L1.4].


On 14 June 2013, the House of Assembly approved a bill that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Bill also prohibits age discrimination in all sectors except at work [R1.3].

On 02 November 2012, Governor George Fergusson, made an announcement stating: 'The Bermuda Human Rights Act does not meet the standard for the 21st century. A new act will be introduced that addresses both sexual orientation and age' [R1.2].

On 13 July 2012, Youth, Families and Sport Minister Glenn Blakeney signalled new laws to ban harassment of based on gender and discrimination against gays and older people. Further discussions, including public meetings, would be held to consider the amendments to the Human Rights Act 1981 [L1.2] or the introduction of an Equality Act [R1.1].

2.

Courts & Tribunals

On 07 December 2015, Chief Justice Ian R C Kawaley in the Supreme Court found that only administrative changes were required in the application of offending sections of the immigration legislation - to the extent that they authorise the minister or deny the permanent same-sex partners of persons who possess Bermuda status residential and employment rights - suspending his 27 November 2015 declaration until 29 February 2016 [R2.3].

On 27 November 2015, Chief Justice Ian R C Kawaley in the Supreme Court ruled that the applicant Bermuda Bred Company wsas entitled to a declaration that 'Sections 25 [27, 27A] and 60 of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 shall be inoperative to the extent that they authorise the Minister to deny the same-sex partners of persons who possess and enjoy Bermuda status, and who have formed stable relationships with such Bermudians, residential and employment rights comparable to those conferred on spouses by the said sections 25 and 60 respectively [C2.2], [R2.1].

L1.4 Human Rights Act 1981 PDF 112.94kb, 01 DEC 11 (Accessed 15 JUL 12)
R1.3 LGBTQNation: Bermuda approves bill prohibiting discrimination against gays 15 JUN 13
R1.2 GayStarNews: Bermuda to ban anti-gay discrimination 03 NOV 12
R1.1 Bermuda Sun: Government signals discrimination protection for gays and older people 14 JUL 12
R2.3 TheRoyalGazette: Same-sex partners to get rights in February 07 DEC 15
C2.2 Judgment: Bermuda Bred Company v. The Minister for Home Affairs and The Attorney General 2015 No. 40 pdf 489.08kb 27 NOV 15
R2.1 TheRoyalGazette: Groundbreaking same-sex ruling 27 NOV 15
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
See also: [Age of Consent]
1.

National

On 02 September 1994, consensual sex between same-sex couples was decriminalised [R1.1].

R1.1 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, 14 MAY 08
Marriage Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

On 14 July 2016, the Senate was reported to have rejected 5-6 the Human Rights Amendment Act that sought to exclude the Matrimonial Causes Act 1974 (which provides that a marriage is void unless the parties are respectively male and female) from the overriding primacy of the Human Rights Act (that makes unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex or sexual orientation as well as other attributes) [R1.9].

On 08 July 2016, the House of Assembly passed 20-10 a Bill to the effect that nothing in the Human Rights Act would override the provisions of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1974, which provides that marriages are void unless they are between a man and a woman [R1.8].

On 23 June 2016, Bermudians overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriages and civil unions. The final count, at around 4am 24 June, showed that 69 per cent of those who voted, or 14,192 people, opposed same-sex marriage, with 6,514 voting in favour. That means out of 44,367 registered voters, 31.99 per cent were against, with 14.68 per cent in favour. Meanwhile, 63 per cent voted against civil unions in the second question. That equates to 29.31 per cent of registered voters, with 17.19 per cent voting in favour [R1.7].

On 10 June 2016, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley refused the application by the Centre for Justice to stop the same-sex marriage ballot taking place on June 23 on the grounds that such a referendum would breach the constitution, the Human Rights Act and common law [R1.6].

On 11 May 2106, a formal notice was published in the Official Gazette confirming that the referendum on same-sex marriage and civil unions will be held on 23 June [R1.5].

On 15 April 2016, it was reported that Thursday 23 June 2016 will be the likely date for the same-sex marriage referendum. The two-question ballot - will ask whether voters are in favour of same-sex marriage and whether they are in favour of same-sex civil unions [R1.4].

On 11 March 2016, Premier Michael Dunkley, speaking at the House of Assembly, revealed that the same-sex marriage referendum will likely take place in mid-to-late June [R1.3].

On 29 February 2016, Premier Michael Dunkley, accompanied by Community and Culture Minister Patricia Gordon Pamplin, told a media conference that a same-sex marriage referendum bill will be tabled in the House of Assembly ''this legislative session'' [R1.2].

On 16 April 2015, it was reported that Jacqui Chapman and her partner were told that because a P&O ship is registered in Bermuda, the Island's laws – including the prohibition of same-sex marriages – are applicable on board their ships [R1.1].

R1.9 WashingtonBlade: Bermuda Senate narrowly rejects anti-marriage bill 14 JUL 16
R1.8 TheRoyalGazette: Bill stops same-sex marriage 09 JUL 16
R1.7 TheRoyalGazette: Voters roundly reject same-sex marriage 24 JUN 16
R1.6 TheRoyalGazette: Same-sex referendum to go ahead 11 JUN 16
R1.5 TheRoyalGazette: Campaigners prepare for same-sex referendum 12 MAY 16
R1.4 TheRoyalGazette: Marriage equality: June 23 referendum likely 15 APR 16
R1.3 TheRoyalGazette: House: same-sex referendum likely in June 12 MAR 16
R1.2 JamaicaObserver: Bermuda plans referendum on same-sex marriage 29 FEB 16
R1.1 TheRoyalGazette Bermuda laws sink gay wedding 16 APR 15
Parenting, Adoption, Fostering Legislation/Cases/References
1.

National

Adoption of children by same-sex couples is not lawful [L1.1].


Section 2 (2) of the Adoption of Children 1907 provides that "An adoption order may be made on the application of two spouses authorizing them jointly to adopt an infant; but an adoption order shall not in any other case be made authorizing more than one person to adopt an infant" [L1.1].

Section 3 (3) of the Act provides that "An adoption order shall not be made in respect of an infant who is a female in favour of a sole applicant who is a male, unless the court is satisfied that there are special circumstances which justify as an exceptional measure the making of an adoption order [L1.1].

R1.1 Criminal Code Act 1907 PDF 840.19kb, 09 JAN 12 (Accessed 15 JUL 12)

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