Carnival Corporation is working with LGBTQ advocacy organization OUTBermuda to reverse Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership Act of 2017, which effectively repealed same-sex marriage in the country, according to a statement the cruise company provided to Travel Agent.
Carnival Corp. says that it is actively supporting OUTBermuda, as well as another plaintiff, Maryellen Jackson, in seeking to petition the Supreme Court of Bermuda for an order declaring that Section 53 of the Domestic Partnership Act of 2017 and all other provisions in the act that deal with and give effect to that provision, or have the effect of revoking same-sex marriage or making same-sex marriages void, are against the Bermuda Constitution of 1968.
The Domestic Partnership Act of 2017 was passed in response to a May 2017 ruling by Bermuda’s Supreme Court allowing and recognizing same-sex marriages on the island. It effectively reversed the ruling, replacing same-sex marriages with “domestic partnerships” or civil unions.
After the May 2017 ruling, Carnival Corporation had been able to offer same-sex wedding ceremonies onboard its Bermuda-flagged cruise brands, which include Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises and Cunard. The Domestic Partnership Act meant that it was no longer able to do so, regardless of where the brands were sailing.
“As a company committed to equality, inclusion and diversity, we were disheartened by Bermuda’s subsequent reversal of the May 2017 ruling,” Carnival Corp. said. “We support marriage equality and we have been actively engaged in supporting efforts by OUTBermuda – a registered charity that promotes and supports the wellbeing, health, dignity, security, safety and protection of the LGBTQ community in Bermuda -- to legally challenge the action to again allow same-sex marriages on the island.”
Carnival Corp. said that it would provide OUTBermuda with financial, civic and public relations support, as well as involvement by the company. Carnival Corp. will also file an affidavit supporting the legal action by OUTBermuda and Jackson.
“OUTBermuda is proud to work with Carnival Corporation, which includes cruise line brands such as Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises, as the company has a long history of commitment to equality, inclusion and diversity,” said OUTBermuda. “Among its many ongoing efforts, the corporation and its nine cruise line brands have been recognized over several years by the Human Rights Campaign for being among the top companies to work for LGBTQ equality, including perfect scores in 2017 and 2016 in HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates U.S. companies on their treatment of LGBTQ consumers, investors and employees.”
At the same time, Carnival Corp. said that it does not believe in dialing back calls in Bermuda in response to the same-sex marriage repeal.
“We are sensitive as to why some travelers may consider avoiding Bermuda while this ban is in place. 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,” Carnival Corp. said. “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.”
Carnival Corp. also noted that, in its ongoing meetings with LGBTQ community organizations based in Bermuda, they had expressed concerns that the existing law and any potential reduction in travel to Bermuda could negatively impact the local economy and tourism industry.
“For those reasons, we believe we can have the most significant impact through direct action,” Carnival Corp. said. “This is why we are working closely with local groups in Bermuda to support their efforts to use the legal process to challenge the decision. As part of this effort, we are actively seeking out and supporting local community organizations working for positive change.”
Carnival Corp. said that six of its nine cruise brands will call on Bermuda this year, for a total of 59 stops. That represents less than 15 percent of the total 282 calls scheduled for this year, the company said.