The Caribbean island nation is the first country to legalize and then repeal same sex marriage, in what critics are calling an unprecedented rollback of civil rights. Bermuda’s governor, John Rankin, signed into law on Wednesday a bill reversing the right for gay couples to marry, despite a supreme court ruling last year authorizing same-sex marriage.
For the law to take effect, it requires the signature of Rankin, the British Governor, which is normally a formality. Before the governor can “withhold assent,” however, he must seek approval from the foreign secretary.
Human rights groups had lobbied Johnson to deviate from standard practice in self-governing UK territories and withhold assent for the change. They argued that the new legislation contradicts Bermuda’s constitution, which guarantees freedom from discrimination. Johnson did not intervene.