Queen Elizabeth May Have To Approve A Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Oh Liz, how could you?

This month, the Bermuda Parliament passed legislation abolishing same-sex marriage, just six months after the country’s high court ruled ay couples could wed. But the Domestic Partnerships Act of 2017 puts Queen Elizabeth of England in an awkward position: Bermuda is still a British Overseas Territory and the law must be given Royal Assent on behalf of Her Majesty.

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John Rankin, the Governor of Bermuda and the British monarch’s representative on the islands, may still reject the bill. “In considering this matter, the Governor will continue to act in accordance with his responsibilities under the Constitution,” said a spokesperson.

But, as Pink News reports, it wouldn’t be the first time Queen Elizabeth’s royal assent has been granted to homophobic laws—including Section 28 of the British Penal Code, which barred the “promotion” of homosexuality from the late 1980s to 2003.

Her assent has also been given to advances in LGBT rights, as well: In Australia, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed a marriage equality law this month on behalf of Elizabeth, Australia’s constitutional head of state.

The approval, of course, is ceremonial and basically perfunctory. But the UK government has worked in recent years to address the remnants of its own homophobic laws and attitudes in former colonies. And with Bermuda being the first country in the world to re-ban marriage equality after passing it, it’s a particularly cringeworthy blight in its eye.


The Bermuda Tourism Authority has already spoken out against the ban, which it says could have a negative impact on the country’s critical tourism industry.

“We believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry,” said CEO Kevin Dallas. “Same-sex marriage is already the law of our island and to roll that back for what will be seen as a less equal union will cause us serious reputational damage… [and] lost tourism business for Bermuda.”

Carnival Cruises, which is based in the North Atlantic nation, announced same-sex wedding packages on its ships earlier this year, with licenses to be issued by the Bermudan government. The company has yet to issue a statement since the Domestic Partnerships Act passed.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.