HAMILTON, Bermuda, Friday June 24, 2016 – The results of yesterday’s referendum showed a clear “no” vote for both same-sex marriages and same-sex unions in Bermuda, but with less than half the registered voters turning out to cast their ballots, the government says the referendum questions were “unanswered”.
The island’s 44, 367 registered voters were asked to vote on two questions yesterday: Are you in favour of same-sex marriage in Bermuda? Are you in favour of same-sex civil unions in Bermuda?
Of those who cast their ballots, 14,192 voted “no” to same-sex marriage, while 6,514 voted in support of it; while there were 13,003 “no” votes for civil unions and 7,626 in favour.
But the voter turnout was only 46.89 per cent – 20,804 people – and, according to the Referendum Act 2012, “a referendum question shall be taken to be unanswered if less than 50 per cent of the persons registered in the parliamentary register vote at the referendum.”
“With yesterday’s referendum, Bermuda has expressed its democratic right to vote on two questions that have been the focus of discussion and debate for more than a year,” Premier Michael Dunkley said this morning.
“And with the results indicating a majority ‘no’ vote, and a less than 50 percent turnout, the Government will now consider the next steps that respects and reflects the views of the people.”
The referendum had always been expected to be “non-binding”.
Dunkley said that he expects the results to trigger court challenges in Bermuda.
“There has been much discussed, much said and much shared throughout our community regarding the issue of same sex relationships. And what is evident is that there are very passionate advocates for and against the matter. This has been and will continue to be a highly sensitive matter,” he added, expressing the hope that even in disagreement on the issue, those on either side of the divide can continue to be respectful and civil and the country can progress.