The territory of Bermuda has become the first in the world’s history to reverse a law allowing same-sex marriage.
This month the British overseas territory implemented a new Domestic Partnership Act, allowing LGBT couples to form domestic partnerships but not marry. The law allows gay couples that are currently married to maintain their status, but it cancels future marriages.
“This could open the door to undo marriage equality elsewhere,” Jordan Sousa, founder of Bermuda’s Gay Straight Alliance told the HuffPost.
Many couples currently living in the territory have taken action, including Bermudian Joe Gibbons and his Canadian partner. Emotions have shifted for the couple, who celebrated the island’s victory of legalizing same-sex marriage last year, but now want to move to Canada following the introduction of the new law.
“One of the reasons we are leaving is the complete ambiguity of how the rights of same-sex couples will be guaranteed,” Gibbons, 64, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “There is just a feeling that people are against you.”
LGBT activists have come forward to voice that the power of the church in Bermuda has played a pivotal role in the approval of the new act. However, Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown, who proposed the new law, believes that the change will create harmony between the opposing groups.
“The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda,” Brown said in a statement earlier this month after the act was approved.
HuffPost reports the territory has seen a decline in tourist’s visits, with many cancellations coming in following the announcement of the new law.