Bermuda — a British overseas territory in the Atlantic Ocean — is making moves to repeal its recent marriage equality law and replace it with domestic partnerships.
Eight out of 11 senators voted to repeal marriage, according to Human Rights Watch. The lower congressional body of the self-governing British territory already approved repeal. The legislation now awaits a yea or nay from Bermuda's governor, John Rankin.
Tiny Bermuda is home to 65,000 people, but receives over 600,000 tourists a year — mostly from the U.S. and Canada. Tourism officials are already sounding the alarm on the risks of repealing marriage rights.
"Our research indicates many companies, consumers and travelers, including the overwhelming majority of the younger visitors powering Bermuda’s growth, care about this issue," Bermuda Tourism Authority's CEO Kevin Dallas wrote in an open letter to senators.
“The year 2017 has been great for marriage equality, with new laws in Germany, Malta, and Australia, but the year does not end well," Human Rights Watch's Boris Dittrich said in a statement. "In Bermuda, the parliament stripped marriage rights from same-sex couples and replaced it with a domestic partnership law. If Bermuda’s Governor John Rankin will sign the law, Bermuda will become the first country in the world to cancel marriage equality. Let’s hope Bermuda will remain a one-off incident and that in 2018, new countries will introduce marriage equality.”