Rainbow flag
The Bermudian parliament is set to abolish marriage equality, just six months after a gay couple won the right to marry torbakhopper / Flickr

Bermuda is set to become the first country in the world to abolish marriage equality, just six months after a gay couple won the right to marry.

The country's parliament passed the Domestic Partnership Act on Friday (8 December), which will end same-sex marriage.

Twenty-four MPs voted in favour of the Act, with 10 opposing the legislation.

The bill was passed just six months after a gay couple won a landmark ruling to marry. The Supreme Court ruled that Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancee Greg DeRoche should be allowed to marry, paving the way for marriage equality.

The couple's lawyer Mark Pettingill hailed the ruling as a victory for human rights in Bermuda. "The message of hate and exclusion has been rejected. Human rights means human rights for all humans. Equally. No one is excluded. Gays who want to marry can now do so," he said.

Several same-sex couples have married since the ruling. In future, LGBT couples will no longer be allowed to marry in Bermuda. Under the new legislation, they will only be allowed to form domestic partnerships.

Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche
Same-sex marriage originally became legal in Bermuda in May 2017 after Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche took their case to the Supreme Court Facebook/WinstonGodwin

MP Lawrence Scott argued that the new law would hand LGBT people more rights.

"As it stands now, they [LGBT couples] can have the name "marriage" but without the benefits," he told the Bermuda Assembly. "But after this bill passes, they have the benefits and just not the name marriage. The benefits are what they really want."

Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown said he introduced the bill as a compromise.

"On the ground, the political reality is that if we do not lead, we would have a Private Members Bill tabled to outlaw same-sex marriage," he explained. "If that bill passes, same-sex couples have no rights whatsoever. This is tough for me. But I don't shy away from tough decisions," he added.

But political opponents said the bill would strip LGBT community of their human rights.

"This is a human rights issue. We are taking away marriage equality rights from the LGBTQ community," Shadow Minister of Economic Development Grant Gibbons said.

Bermudan LGBT group Rainbow Alliance condemned the decision. "We are in agreement with the Human Rights Commission that the proposed legislation creates a "watered down" version of rights, leading to a separate but equal status under the law," the group told the Gay Times.