The Queen might have to give approval to a law banning gay marriage
The British monarchy is in an unfortunate bind in Bermuda – where the Queen’s assent might have to be given to a law banning same-sex marriage.
Same-sex weddings were allowed to begin in Bermuda earlier this year after a court ruling, but the political establishment in the country has conspired to stamp out the practise.
Both the House and Senate in the Bermudan Parliament have this month passed a bill that bans couples from marrying once again.
The Domestic Partnership Bill, which passed through Parliament by votes of 8-3 and 24-10, would abolish same-sex marriage, while extending a lesser form of civil partnership to gay people.
The law will also cause chaos for the cruise ship industry – as many ships are registered in Bermuda, and had already begun taking bookings for same-sex weddings under Bermudan law.
However, as Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, the law must be given Royal Assent on behalf of the British monarch.
John Rankin, the Governor of Bermuda, is the unelected representative of the British monarch in the overseas territory and gives Royal Assent to laws on behalf of the Queen.
As the Domestic Partnership Bill heads to his desk, there are questions about whether the law will simply be rejected by the Governor.
In the UK, over the decades the Queen has been required to give royal assent to homophobic laws as well as progressive legislation, from Section 28 to the UK’s equal marriage bill. Her role, largely ceremonial, has always been carried out without comment.
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