Queen Elizabeth May Have To Approve A Ban On Same-Sex Marriage

Oh Liz, how could you?

This month, the Bermuda Parliament passed legislation abolishing same-sex marriage, just six months after the country's high court ruled ay couples could wed. But the Domestic Partnerships Act of 2017 puts Queen Elizabeth of England in an awkward position: Bermuda is still a British Overseas Territory and the law must be given Royal Assent on behalf of Her Majesty.

Ray Collins - WPA Pool/Getty

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 04: Queen Elizabeth II sits with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as she delivers her speech during the State Opening of Parliament in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster on June 4, 2014 in London, England. Queen Elizabeth II is to unveil the coalition government's legislative programme in a speech delivered to Members of Parliament and Peers in The House of Lords. Proposed legislation is expected to be introduced on a 5p charge for plastic bags in England, funding of workplace pensions, new state-funded childcare subsidy and reforms to speed up infrastructure projects. (Photo by Ray Collins - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

John Rankin, the Governor of Bermuda and the British monarch's representative on the islands, may still reject the bill. “In considering this matter, the Governor will continue to act in accordance with his responsibilities under the Constitution,” said a spokesperson.

But, as Pink News reports, it wouldn't be the first time Queen Elizabeth's royal assent has been granted to homophobic laws—including Section 28 of the British Penal Code, which barred the "promotion" of homosexuality from the late 1980s to 2003.

Her assent has also been given to advances in LGBT rights, as well: In Australia, Governor-General Peter Cosgrove signed a marriage equality law this month on behalf of Elizabeth, Australia's constitutional head of state.

The approval, of course, is ceremonial and basically perfunctory. But the UK government has worked in recent years to address the remnants of its own homophobic laws and attitudes in former colonies. And with Bermuda being the first country in the world to re-ban marriage equality after passing it, it's a particularly cringeworthy blight in its eye.


Dancers participate in National Heroes Day celebrations June 19, 2017 in St. David's, Bermuda, to honor those men and women who officially became National Heroes in Bermuda.Bermuda is currently hosting the 35th America's Cup sailing race. / AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

The Bermuda Tourism Authority has already spoken out against the ban, which it says could have a negative impact on the country's critical tourism industry.

“We believe the Bill poses an unnecessary threat to the success of our tourism industry,” said CEO Kevin Dallas. “Same-sex marriage is already the law of our island and to roll that back for what will be seen as a less equal union will cause us serious reputational damage... [and] lost tourism business for Bermuda."

Carnival Cruises, which is based in the North Atlantic nation, announced same-sex wedding packages on its ships earlier this year, with licenses to be issued by the Bermudan government. The company has yet to issue a statement since the Domestic Partnerships Act passed.