Bermuda’s reversal on gay and lesbian marriage has left a sour taste in travelers mouths, and now the country is beginning to worry about the backlash. The country initially legalized gay and lesbian marriage last year, but reversed its decision earlier this year. The battle, though, for marriage equality isn’t over as OUTBermuda, the country’s non-profit for LGBTQ rights, has filed a lawsuit against the country’s attorney general to repeal the ban on gay marriage.
The ban isn’t expected to go into full effect until June; the country is beginning to worry that the legal battle over a human right could prevent travelers from spending their summer vacations on the island.
An openly lesbian resident and teacher Maryellen Jackson will be serving as a plaintiff in the case commented on the potential impact of the case. .
“I do think there will be some negative consequences that may not even be considered,” she said. “We just don’t know how people will react,” said Jackson. “People are going to travel where they want to travel. I would think the LGBTQ community may think twice and choose to support human rights and not come to a place that doesn’t value all it’s people equally.”
The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association responded to the potential boycott: “We believe in working with destinations to provide education and create an ongoing dialogue that can lead to change in policies and sentiments, versus calling for boycotts that isolate local LGBTQ communities and close the door on the conversation,” said John Tanzella, the organization’s CEO, in a statement. “The Bermuda Tourism Authority joined IGLTA last year, a positive step that shows there are those in the destination with a desire to be more inclusive of the LGBTQ community,” said Tanzella. “We support our member businesses wherever they are in the world because they have committed to treating all people with respect even if the laws of their country are lagging behind.”
Funnily enough, Chief Executive Officer of the Bermuda Tourism Authority Kevin Dallas is one of the speakers at this year's IGLTA Conference in Toronto.
Dallas reiterated this point to OutTraveler.
“Bermuda has a well-earned reputation as a warm, friendly and welcoming destination. Out here we believe in the transformative power of travel and the cultural exchanges it inspires between visitors to a destination and the people who live there. We hope all travellers to Bermuda, including LGBT visitors, will continue to believe in and experience this important exchange.”
Carnival Corporation may be one of the biggest hit by the backlash. The company, which registers many of its ships in the country, will be forced to end same-sex marriage aboard. But they are leading the fight against the re-ban on gay and lesbian marriage.
“We are sensitive as to why some travelers may consider avoiding Bermuda while this ban is in place,” the statement said. “While we always abide by the laws of the countries we sail to and from, we believe travel and tourism brings people and cultures together in powerful ways. As a result, we believe it is important to stand by the LGBTQ community in Bermuda and its many allies to oppose any actions that restrict travel and tourism.”
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