The Royal Gazette newspaper reported Rankin approved the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 — which allows same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnerships as opposed to get married — “after careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the Constitution.”
The Bermuda Parliament approved the bill late last year.
Same-sex couples had been able to marry in Bermuda since Charles-Etta Simmons, a judge on the Bermuda Supreme Court, ruled in favor of the issue in May 2017. Bermuda is the first government in the world outside the U.S. to rescind marriage rights to gays and lesbians.
Tony Brannon, an LGBT rights advocate in Bermuda, told Bernews.com he is “saddened to hear that Bermuda has just become the 1st country in the world to reverse same sex marriage.” Human Rights Campaign Global Director Ty Cobb in a statement also criticized Rankin.
“This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda’s international reputation and economy,” said Cobb. “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.”