The Queen might be forced to ban gay marriages

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The British monarchy is in an unfortunate bind in Bermuda – where the Queen’s assent might have to be given to a law forbidding same-sex marriages only half a year after legally allowing them. Both the House and Senate in the Bermudan Parliament have this month passed a bill replacing same-sex marriages with domestic partnerships. The Domestic Partnership Bill, which passed through Parliament by votes of 8-3 and 24-10, would define marriage as an opposite-sex unit, offering only civil partnerships to gay couples.However, as Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory, the law must be given Royal Assent on the Queen’s behalf. John Rankin, the Governor of Bermuda, is the unelected representative of the British monarch in the overseas territory and gives Royal Assent to laws on behalf of the Queen. As the Domestic Partnership Bill heads to his desk, there are questions about whether the law will simply be rejected by the Governor. In the UK, over the decades the Queen has been required to give royal assent to homophobic laws as well as progressive legislation, from Section 28 to the UK’s equal marriage bill. Her role, largely ceremonial, has always been carried out without comment.

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