Love is a Human Right

(SOURCE: Amnesty International)

The right of adults to enter into consensual marriage is enshrined in international human rights standards.

Article 16, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR):

"Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution."

For more than a decade, this non-discrimination principle has been interpreted by UN treaty bodies and numerous inter-governmental human rights bodies as prohibiting discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. Non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation has therefore become an internationally recognized principle and many countries have responded by bringing their domestic laws into line with this principle in a range of spheres including partnership rights.

The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

More recently these principles developed in 2006 by a group of LGBT experts in Yogyarkarta, Indonesia in response to well-known examples of abuse, provide a universal guide to applying international human rights law to violations experienced by lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people to ensure the universal reach of human rights protections (Amnesty International)

PRINCIPLE 2. The Rights to Equality and Non-discrimination

"Everyone is entitled to enjoy all human rights without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Everyone is entitled to equality before the law and the equal protection of the law without any such discrimination whether or not the enjoyment of another human right is also affected. The law shall prohibit any such discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against any such discrimination. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity includes any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on sexual orientation or gender identity which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing equality before the law or the equal protection of the law, or the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal basis, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms. Discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity may be, and commonly is, compounded by discrimination on other grounds including gender, race, age, religion, disability, health and economic status."


Civil Marriage

Civil marriage between individuals of the same-sex is an issue in which fundamental human rights are at stake. The denial of equal civil recognition of same-sex relationships prevents many people from accessing a range of other rights, such as rights to housing and social security, and stigmatizes those relationships in ways that can fuel discrimination and other human rights abuses against people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The failure of a state to recognize these relationships has grave consequences for same sex couples and their children, including:

  • Prohibiting a partner from making decisions on a partner’s behalf when she or he is sick
  • Prohibiting a partner from visiting a partner’s child in hospital
  • Preventing couples from sharing equal rights and equal responsibility for children in their care
  • Preventing a partner and children from receiving employment-based benefits and being covered by health insurance
  • Preventing inheritance from a deceased partner going to a surviving partner if he or she dies without a valid will.


The Human Rights Commission

Bermuda’s system of Human Rights is constituted by one authority, the Human Rights Commission (the “Commission”) and, since enactment of the Human Rights Act, 1981 (the “Act”), the Commission has served to provide a code of non-discrimination between people in Bermuda and to extend the fundamental rights and freedoms which are enshrined in the Constitution. The Human Rights Commission was formally established in 1982 and is comprised of Commissioners and Officers of the Human Rights Commission. The Human Rights Commission is a unit within the Department of Human Affairs and the Minister responsible for Human Rights is responsible for the Commission... (read more here)

The Human Rights Act

The Act prohibits discrimination in areas such as employment and in the provision of services on the basis of certain characteristics or grounds (e.g. race, place of origin, national origins, sex, disability, etc....). Discrimination is the act of unequal, stereotypical or prejudicial treatment of persons based on the grounds set out in the Act. The purpose of the Act is to ensure that residents are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination (from Department of Human Affairs).

In 2013 the Act was amended adding sexual orientation discrimination to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.

>> Read "MPs approve historic Human Rights Act changes" on the Royal Gazette