Well, I've been meaning to get aroung to this for awhile, but my business trip and vacation interrupted.
On June 27th I emailed the Premier the following:
Dear Mr. Premier,
I listened with great interest to your presentation on the motion to adjourn this past Friday in Parliament.
You have stated several times now, as you did then, that 'all Bermudians' are protected under the Human Rights Code, including those who may be discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and unless proven otherwise (presumably in the courts) that an amendment is unnecessary.
I would be most appreciative if you could point me to the relevant section of the HRC from which you draw your conclusions. I have attached the Consolidated HRC document for your reference.
I received this reply on July 18th (the first day of my 3 week trip off the island):
Your email of June 27th, 2006 with respect to the captioned matter and addressed to the Premier, the Hon. W. Alexander Scott, JP, MP refers.
In the first instance, the Human Rights Act 1981 (the “Act”) affirms the rights and freedoms of all members of the community. “Community” is defined in the Act as: “All persons lawfully residing in Bermuda”.
Please refer to Section 2(2) (a) (ii) of the Act as read with sections 4, 5, 6 and 7.
Please also note that under “Interpretation” [Section 2 (1)] of the Act, “he” includes “she” and vice versa.
I trust the foregoing is helpful.
Kenneth S. Dill
Assistant Cabinet Secretary
The Cabinet Office
105 Front Street
Tele: 292 5501
Fax; 292 8397
While I appreciate the response, I can't begin to describe how weak it is. It's a good thing the Premier isn't a lawyer. He just creates laws.
It's pretty evident to even my non-legal brain that Section 2 defines specifically what categories of discrimination are protected under the Act - and sexual orientation isn't one of them:
(2) For the purposes of this Act a person shall be deemed to discriminate against another person—
(a) if he treats him less favourably than he treats or would treat other persons generally or refuses or deliberately omits to enter into any contract or arrangement with him on the like terms and the like circumstances as in the case of other persons generally or deliberately treats him differently to other persons because—
(i) of his race, place of origin, colour, or ethnic or national origins;
(ii) of his sex;
(iii) of his marital status;
(iiiA) of his disability;
(iv) he was not born in lawful wedlock;
(v) she has or is likely to have a child whether born in lawful wedlock or not;
(vi) of his religion or beliefs or political opinions;or
(vii) of his criminal record, except where there are valid reasons relevant to the nature of the particular offence for which he is convicted that would justify the difference in treatment.".
(b) if he applies to that other person a condition which he applies or would apply equally to other persons generally but—
(i) which is such that the proportion of persons of the same race, place of origin, colour, ethnic or national origins, sex, marital status, disability, religion, beliefs, or political opinions as that other who can comply with it is considerably smaller than the proportion of persons not of that description who can do so; and
(ii) which he cannot show to be justifiable irrespective of the race, place of origin, colour, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religion, beliefs or political opinions of the person to whom it is applied; and
(iii) which operates to the detriment of that other person because he cannot comply with it.
(3) For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared that the rights conferred by this Act on any disabled person do not in any way restrict any right or duty that any other person or any authority has under the Public Health Act 1949 [title 11 item 1] or the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972 [title 11 item 4] to perform any function conferred or imposed by either of those Acts upon the last mentioned person or that authority in relation to that disabled person.
[Section 2 amended by BR 54/1994 effective 16 December 1994: amended effective by 2000:37 August 24 2000]
The only grey area to me would be the term 'sex', but it's clearly used in the gender sense. Sexual orientation is not covered.
In fact the Human Rights Commission themselves have affirmed that, in their ruling reported the day after I sent the Premier my email.