A slim majority of people in Bermuda have voted against legalising both same-sex unions and marriages in a referendum.
The Royal Gazette reported that 51% of those who voted in Thursday’s poll said no to the two questions on the ballot: “Are you in favour of same-sex marriage?” and “are you in favour of civil unions?”
Only 46.89 % of the 44,367 Bermudians registered to vote took part in the referendum. The poll was non-binding and because less than 50% of voters participated, the results are invalid. It now becomes up to lawmakers or the courts to decide on the matter.
Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Minister for Home Affairs, told parliament on Friday that despite most voters rejecting legalising same-sex relationships, the majority should not be allowed to dictate the rights of minorities.
“We don’t just represent the ones we agree with or the ones that look like us. We represent everyone and that is our responsibility,” said Gordon-Pamplin. “And I feel we have failed, yes, as a people.”
The referendum was not supported by the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda which argued that it was “an inappropriate method for making human rights decisions that impact a small minority of Bermuda’s population”.
In response to the results of the poll, the LGBTQ organisation said that the failure to get enough of a voter turn-out “proved this exercise to be a colossal waste of taxpayer funds”.
It called on the government “to show leadership on this issue” and also said that it “now expect the courts to quickly fill the vacuum left by the politicians’ cowardice”.
Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory; it is internally self-governing but the UK is responsible for defence and foreign relations.