February 6, 2013
Let’s talk about gay marriage. US President Barack Obama used his inaugural address to show his support on the issue. The UK Parliament, led by Conservative leader David Cameron, has just voted to allow it. Where does Bermuda stand on this? If Bermuda were to allow gay marriage, it would be uniquely placed to benefit from the pending changes to the law in the UK and USA. Bermuda’s tourism industry is suffering, but it is well set up to cater for wedding parties. With our pink beaches, pink cottages and pink shorts, we are already perfectly colour-coordinated to market to the pink pound or the pink dollar. Weddings, whether gay or straight, are generally fairly formal celebrations, in keeping with Bermuda’s reputation as a conservative destination. There are hundreds of thousands of gay couples in the US and UK, many of whom have been together for decades and who are waiting for the law to change. If Bermuda is too slow, we will miss the opportunity to cater to them, as they will get married at home instead. Is this going to be another case where Bermuda is too slow to take the initiative, or are we going to seize the opportunity, do the right thing, and give our economy a much-needed boost at the same time?
Allowing gay marriage is also the right thing to do for gay Bermudians. Straight spouses of Bermudians are entitled to Bermudian status after ten years. Gay life partners have no protected right to even live and work in Bermuda, never mind other rights such as owning property. It’s no wonder that many gay Bermudians live in self-imposed exile overseas rather than have to subject their loved ones to life as a second-class citizen in Bermuda. Marriage is a conservative institution that promotes commitment and social stability. As a straight married man, I feel that my marriage will be unaffected by allowing gay couples to enjoy the benefits that marriage provides. Allowing gay couples to take part in it will make Bermuda a better place to live.
Source: The Royal Gazette