The Bermuda Parliament is wrestling with the issues of banning discrimination based on age and sexual orientation. As noted by Bernews, “Bermuda’s News and Culture Source”: “Support for banning age discrimination was almost universal among MPs, while the debate on banning discrimination based on sexual orientation was more varied.” Sounds like the contour of the debates currently taking place in numerous American states and municipalities.
Yesterday’s Parliamentary debate concerned a motion to amend the Human Rights Act (of 1981) as follows: “That this Honourable House take note of the merits of introducing an Equality Act which will establish measures protecting persons from age discrimination, and discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, particularly in circumstances relating to employment, accommodation and the procurement of goods and services.”
One MP’s stand on discrimination based upon sexual orientation was based, he contended, on the position of his Church: “When it comes to the discrimination based on sexual orientation, I will take my lead from my Church. … I will take my lead from the Church, I am from the AME Church, and I think their stance on that is no secret. When it comes to age discrimination, I certainly will always be against that.”
Another MP took issue with this position, stating that: “at no time does any Pastor say that because your sexual orientation is different from mine don’t give me your collection on a Sunday. That doesn’t happen. And that’s being very real.”
Finally, a third MP distinguished the roles of Parliament and the Church: “Lets show respect, the church has its duty to do, and we have our duty to do as we pass legislation in this House. … We are all God’s children … If you cut us we will all bleed the same colour, I haven’t seen anyone bleed different yet.”