The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is disappointed but unsurprised at the passing of the Domestic Partnership Act by the House of Assembly and the Senate. This legislation creates a ‘watered down’ version of rights, leading to a separate-but-equal status under the law. Ultimately, no separate-but-equal measure allows for equality or justice.
Come and meet new author Tita Navarro and get a copy of her book Sapphic Pleasures, a collection of lesbian erotic short stories.
Save the date: December 12th 2017 at the Bermuda National Library from 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Bermuda LGBTQ Support Groups continue tonight, Thursday November 30, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM, aiming to offer support to the Bermuda LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community and their family and friends.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda (RAoB) is disappointed the Government of Bermuda has taken the approach it has to remove marriage equality from the law. We are in agreement with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that the proposed legislation creates a ‘watered down’ version of rights, leading to a separate but equal status under the law. Ultimately, no separate but equal measure allows for equality or justice.
RAoB supports marriage equality. Members of Bermuda’s LGBTQ+ community are entitled to the same rights and protections given to all citizens in Bermuda, including having their loving, committed relationships recognized both locally and internationally. Bermuda should remain one of the jurisdictions around the world which has marriage equality. It is unfortunate the Government sees fit for Bermuda to become the first jurisdiction globally to have marriage equality rescinded. This is not the international reputation that our country should strive for.
The RAoB is committed to the creation and promotion of safer spaces in Bermuda. Proposing legislation that allows for further division between the LGBTQ+ community and the Bermuda community at large does nothing to help move Bermuda forward to become a more just and equal society.
In honour of the historic ruling for same sex marriage, Sybil Returns with another great show. Come and enjoy an exciting and unpredictable night of DRAMA with female impersonators.
Where: Earl Cameron Theatre at City Hall
When: Friday, November 10th 9:00 pm
Tickets: $50 (General admission, no assigned seating)
You must be 18+ to attend.
Tickets are now on sale online at www.bdatix.bm or at Shannons Boutique.
Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche — who successfully filed a legal challenge which paved the way for same sex marriage in Bermuda — sat down with Bernews this weekend for a live interview on their Facebook page, where they discussed the historic court case, LGBTQ rights, their recent marriage, the possible legislation pertaining to same sex marriage and more.
LGBTQ Support Groups will officially begin on Thursday, June 15, 2017 from 6PM-7:30PM, aiming to offer support to the Bermuda LGBTQ community and their family and friends.
OUTBermuda invites you to join the first ever ‘In Good Company’ community engagement event. The purpose is simple and important, to invite you into meaningful conversation on issues affecting Bermuda’s LGBTQ community, to build community and to shape the future of OUTBermuda.
Date: Saturday, January 28
Time: 10 AM – 3PM
Location: Hamilton Princess
10:00am – 12:30pm, World Cafe
There’s no better way to hear from you about things that matter than over a cup of coffee (or tea!).
12:30pm – 1:00pm Lunch (It’s on us!)
1:00pm – 3:00pm, Open Space Brainstorming
Let’s get into specifics: tell us what you think about OUTBermuda’s priorities and planned initiatives.
Dress Code: Casual
Please RSVP by email to OUTBermuda@gmail.com by Friday, January 20th, 2017
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda would like to acknowledge the outpouring of love and support for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community in response to the referendum on marriage equality. We have always maintained that a referendum is not the appropriate vehicle for this kind of human rights issue, and the failure to get enough of a voter turn-out proved this exercise to be a colossal waste of taxpayer funds.
While many countries have deemed marriage a heterosexual-only institution, over 76 of them also include anti-LGBTQ legislation that endangers the lives of LGBTQ people. This is not an example to follow. Bermuda is a much smaller community than the 20+ countries that have already changed legislation to provide marriage equality. The referendum results show an opportunity for more education around LGBTQ issues and equity. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda now renews our call to urge the Government to show leadership on this issue. We will continue to advocate for marriage equality but we now expect the courts to quickly fill the vacuum left by the politicians’ cowardice.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is grateful for an end to the divisive and often-hurtful campaigning that this exercise has inspired. The discourse has included homophobic and transphobic attacks on the humanity of LGBTQ people through intellectually dishonest and sometimes hateful propaganda.
Particularly, we want to tell the young LGBTQ community that the island’s majority failing to speak for them does not mean that they are in any way unworthy. You are amazing and deserve love without constraints within a supportive society. We want to tell the LGBTQ Bermudians that could not vote on their rights because they have been forced to leave for more accepting communities: we miss you, we love you, and we want to make home a safer place. LGBTQ family, you matter, and love will ultimately win.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will remain committed to creating safer spaces and advocating for equity for the LGBTQ community.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is made up of a diverse group of young Bermudians that are involved in many areas of other social justice advocacy and community work. There are no official spokespeople and all statements are written collaboratively. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is not a charity and does not seek funding. For more information visit www.rainbowbermuda.org
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda condemns the decision to grant Preserve Marriage charitable status. The Registrar General and Charity Commissioners may have acted unlawfully with this hasty decision. We call upon the Registrar General and/or Minister Fahy to reverse this decision immediately. This action follows other failings of the government to act with the benefit of all Bermudians in mind, including their tabling of the Matrimonial Causes Act Amendment 2016 and the calling of a referendum on a Human Rights issue.
Section 3(b) of the Charities Act 2014 requires that a charitable purpose must be for the public benefit. The Commissioners have published guidance under section 13 of that Act. This public benefit test must consider any actual benefits for society arising from the charity (e.g. educating people about the benefits of marriage). The guidance indicates that “any detriment or harm which is caused by a charity’s purposes” should be considered (e.g. denying people access to the institution of marriage, advocating against the human rights of others, and the stigmatization of an entire group that arises when they are singled out). The Charities Commission must determine whether the harm outweighs the benefit. If it does, then the public benefit test must fail. Based on Preserve Marriage’s public activity thus far, there is no long-term public benefit from their campaigning, which is also political in nature.
The guidance also describes “forbidden purposes” as those which: “explicitly provide for some detriment or harm; are unlawful or contrary to public policy; or are of such a serious nature as to negate the benefit provided, cannot be beneficial, and consequently, are never charitable” (p. 32). Preserve Marriage defines its campaigning by its opposition to the rights of a protected group under the Human Rights Act 1981. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda asks the Charities Commissioners how they could, in good conscience, decide that this was for the public’s benefit?
The guidance also discusses that an organization cannot be a charity if it has a political purpose, including: “securing or opposing any change in the law, whether in Bermuda or overseas; and securing or opposing a change in the policy or decisions of central government or local authorities or other public bodies, whether in Bermuda or overseas” (p.39). Preserve Marriage have operated a political campaign over the past several months through demonstrations, advertising, petitions about law-changes, and bringing in overseas speakers. In Preserve Marriage’s promotional materials, their intended purpose includes: “To inform the public about the truth of civil unions; to ensure legislation related to marriage in Bermuda is fortified; and to ensure that a few do not decide for the many.” Each of these objectives are clearly political in nature and have been campaigned for over the past few months specifically to oppose the Government’s consideration of same sex marriage and/or civil unions. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda asks the Charities Commissioners how they could, in good conscience, decide that their purpose was not primarily political?
We acknowledge that Preserve Marriage does note on their website that people of all sexualities should be respected, but their activities and objectives do not foster respect for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community or a spirit of inclusivity within the broader Bermudian community. The Preserve Marriage campaign has been riddled with dog-whistle politics, such as the “Consequences to Redefining Marriage” handout which lists items that could be beneficial and supportive of the LGBTQ community as scare-tactic opposition to recognition of marriage equality. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda would again like to recognise the significant importance of the rights of LGBTQ Bermudians and residents to be respected and protected under the Human Rights Act. At best, Preserve Marriage’s advocacy has promoted hurtful heterosexist and transphobic rhetoric that has created significant mental and emotional anguish for the LGBTQ people of Bermuda.
The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda believes that Preserve Marriage would fail both the public benefit and the political purposes test. Their purposes are detrimental and outweigh any possible benefit. Indeed, they might arguably amount to a forbidden purpose. Further, their past statements and activities show an explicit desire to change our marriage legislation and to undermine Government’s own efforts to bring in civil union legislation. We urge the Registrar General and Minister Fahy to reverse the granting of Preserve Marriage’s charitable status.
As always, the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda remains committed to providing safer spaces for the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community. It is made up of a diverse group of young Bermudians that are involved in many areas of other social justice advocacy and community work. There are no official spokespeople and all statements are written collaboratively. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda is not a charity and does not seek funding.