[Opinion column written by U.S. Consul General to Bermuda Robert Settje] The Government of the United States supports and promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender [LGBT] rights.
By Leanne McGrath, for The Royal Gazette
A group of islanders will fly the flag for Bermuda at the WorldPride festival in Toronto this month.
Organisers estimate that 1.5 million visitors from across the globe will attend the ten-day event, which culminates in a giant parade on June 29.
The past month has surely been exciting for Bermuda’s LGBTQ community! Bermuda’s Government finally made the decision to amend the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as protected grounds from discrimination in terms of employment, goods and services and housing.
Here’s a timeline of some of the events that have led up to this point:
Bermuda, 18 June 2013 - The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, would like to applaud the government’s decision on Friday, June 14th, to pass the amendment to the Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We are proud of all the brave voices who spoke in favour of the amendment and of protecting the fundamental human rights of the LGB community.
This legislation would not be possible without years of campaigning by countless activists and groups, particularly Dr. John Stubbs, Two Words and a Comma, Centre for Justice, the Allen Vincent Smith Foundation, the Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International Bermuda. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda sincerely thanks all of these allies.
Based on the emotional, confused, and sometimes offensive tenor of the debates that took place surrounding the amendment, it is evident that there is still work for us to do in the Bermudian community to combat homophobia, improve understanding, and address misconceptions. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue this important work, while continuing to provide safe spaces for the LGBTQ community members and allies. The LGBTQ community will not be shamed, silenced, or condemned and we hope to work together to create equity for all of Bermuda’s citizens.
By Jeremy Deacon
It has been a long time coming, but at last sexual orientation has been added to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Now the Island has, in this regard at least, moved into the 21st century. It is a mature decision and the MPs need to be congratulated…
As a country, it is time to follow our elected leaders and preach — and practice — greater tolerance, not just to those of a different sexual orientation, but to everyone.
By Jonathan Bell
Advocates of the long-fought initiative to expand human rights gave mixed applause to last night’s passage of the Human Rights Amendment in the House of Assembly.
By Ayo Johnson
Parliament has passed landmark legislation prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination, following after a nine-hour debate yesterday.
While there were some dissenting voices, the majority of MPs spoke in favour of the Human Rights Amendment Act 2013 which added sexual orientation discrimination to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
Browne Evans would have been disappointed with PLP’s ambivalence on Human Rights Act, says her daughter
By Jonathan Bell
Human rights champion Lois Browne Evans would have been disappointed by the Progressive Labour Party’s ambivalent stance on the Human Rights Act, according to her daughter Tina Evans Caines.
An amendment outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation goes before today’s sitting of the House of Assembly.
Speaking just days before National Heroes Day, Ms Evans Caines recalls her mother — Bermuda’s first National Hero — staunchly backing legislation, such as 1994’s Stubbs Bill, that had profound implications for gay rights.
By Premier Craig Cannonier
There come times in the life of a country when its people have the opportunity to decide what kind of future they want; to build toward something better, to expand freedom, to better protect one another, to leave behind what was not working; to correct a historic wrong or make good an oversight.
The legislation before the House today is one of those opportunities.
The Human Rights Amendment Act contains provisions that will, in effect, prohibit discrimination against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Today advocacy group, Two Words and a Comma, highlighted previously released educational material to help clarify the proposed amendment to the Human Rights Act to include sexual orientation as a protected grounds of discrimination.