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BERMUDA-New Governor backs same-sex civil unions

  • Written by CMC
  • Published in Lifestyle
HAMILTON, Bermuda, Dec 23, CMC – Bermuda’s new Governor, John Rankin, is backing same-sex civil unions in Bermuda — just months after they were rejected in a referendum here.

“Civil unions have been recognised in the UK and in many other jurisdictions around the world,” Scottish-born Rankin said in an interview with the Royal Gazette newspaper.

“I hope that any differing views on this issue in Bermuda can be resolved so any discrimination in this area can be ended.”

In the June referendum, which drew a less than 50 per cent turnout, 14,192 people opposed same-sex marriage and 13,003 voted against same-sex civil unions. A total of 6,514 said yes to same-sex marriage and 7,626 backed same-sex civil unions.

Rankin, 59, arrived on the island two weeks ago shortly after a protest against the proposed US$250 million public-private redevelopment of the airport involving a Canadian company turned ugly, with police in riot gear using pepper spray against a crowd that blocked the entrance to the House of Assembly.

Rankin said he hoped the issue would be resolved.

Speaker Randy Horton adjourned the House of Assembly until early February when the airport plan is expected to come up for debate, although a further protest outside Sessions House is on the cards.

“I hope that calm will prevail and a constructive way is found to deal with issues on which there are currently disagreements,” Rankin said.

“People have the right to peaceful protest, but it’s also important that parliament can go about its business. I also support the police in upholding the law,” added Rankin.

Rankin, who previously served as British Ambassador to Nepal, said he had been impressed by a friendly welcome on his arrival in Bermuda.

“My first impressions are certainly that I’ve arrived in interesting times, but my impressions are, firstly, how incredibly friendly people are.

“They have been very welcoming. Secondly, I have been impressed by the energy of people here.

“I have met people from all backgrounds here who strike me as very skilled in what they do,” added Rankin, who joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1998, originally as a specialist in international law before moving into a diplomatic role.

  • Countries: Bermuda