Carnival Corporation Statement Regarding Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership Act
Carnival Corporation believes our employees, guests and the public at large deserve equal dignity and respect. Our ongoing efforts have been recognized over several years by various organizations, such as the Human Rights Campaign, as one of 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. As such, we believe that marriage equality should be lawful in Bermuda.
We applauded the May 2017 ruling in Bermuda's Supreme Court allowing and recognizing same-sex marriages on the island. Longstanding law and custom allowed ships registered in Bermuda to conduct opposite-sex wedding ceremonies at sea, and the 2017 court decision enabled cruise companies to also begin offering same-sex wedding packages. Beginning in summer 2017, we began booking onboard wedding packages for same-sex couples looking for the unique experience of being wed at sea, with the same equal legal recognition as opposite-sex couples.
As a company committed to equality, inclusion and diversity, we were disheartened by Bermuda's subsequent reversal of the May 2017 ruling. 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.
In fact, Carnival Corporation is actively supporting OUTBermuda, along with another plaintiff, Maryellen Jackson, who have jointly submitted an Originating Summons to the Supreme Court of Bermuda for that court to issue an order declaring that Section 53 of the Domestic Partnership Act 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 in contravention of the Bermuda Constitution 1968.
Our engagement includes providing OUTBermuda with financial, civic and public relations support, as well as involvement by our company. In addition, we will be filing an affidavit supporting the legal action submitted by OUTBermuda and Ms. Jackson.
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. 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.
In addition, we have had ongoing meetings with LGBTQ community organizations based in Bermuda and they have shared their own concerns that both the existing law and any potential reduction of travel to Bermuda will have a negative impact on the local economy and locals who depend on tourism for their livelihood. At their urging, we believe it is best to align our actions with the LGBTQ community and others who live and work in Bermuda and depend on tourism for their living.
For those reasons, we believe we can have the most significant impact through direct action. 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.
Six of Carnival Corporation's nine cruise line brands will call upon Bermuda in 2018.
Carnival Corporation brands are scheduled to make a total of 59 stops in Bermuda in 2018.
Other cruise line brands will call on Bermuda a combined 282 times in 2018.
Combined, Carnival Corporation's brands represent less than 15 percent of the calls scheduled for Bermuda in 2018.