In a first, Bermuda officially moved toward abolishing same-sex marriage by approving a bill Wednesday despite a supreme court ruling that legalized gay couple marriage in May 2017.

Merely eight months after the ruling authorizing same- sex marriage in the British island territory, Governor John Rankin reversed the law by signing a bill to this effect.

Rankin said, while gay couples can now only be registered as domestic partners, they will have all the rights bestowed to heterosexual couples including the right to make medical decisions on your partner's behest.

The decision drew harsh criticism from human rights groups for its unprecedented move to legalize and then repeal the law that authorized same-sex marriage.

Hurricane Gonzalo In Bermuda Residents prepare for Hurricane Gonzalo in Bermuda. Photo: Reuters

Rankin said he was trying to find a balance between the proponents and opponents of same-sex marriage in the socially conservative territory. The supreme court ruling spurred celebrations within the small gay community in the island but also enraged the socially conservative population in the territory.

Rankin said he attempted to find a compromise while abiding with the European ruling that ensures recognition and protection for gay couples in the region.

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said, “The act is intended to strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups in Bermuda, by restating that marriage must be between a male and a female while at the same time recognizing and protecting the rights of same-sex couples.”

The ruling Progressive Labour Party proposed the repeal of the law. Bermuda’s Senate and House of Assembly passed the legislation in December where a majority of the members opposed same-sex marriage.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights groups said granting only the option of registered domestic partnership to same-sex couples equates to deeming them as second class citizens. It is extremely startling to find the right once granted to be ripped away by the authorities, they said.

Director of Human Rights Campaign Global Ty Cobb said, “Governor Rankin and the Bermuda parliament have shamefully made Bermuda the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality,” reports said.

The bill that equates the rights of the gay couple with that of the straight couple with the exception of marriage was perceived as a tremendous setback to civil rights in the region.

Ty Cobb's added, “This decision strips loving same-sex couples of the right to marry and jeopardizes Bermuda’s international reputation and economy. Despite this deplorable action, the fight for marriage equality in Bermuda will continue until the day when every Bermudian is afforded the right to marry the person they love.”

When the bill was introduced in the House in December, United Kingdom's Labor Minister Chris Bryant called it deeply unpleasant. When it was passed, he said it would severely undermine U.K.'s efforts to advance LGBT rights.

The governor after signing the bill issued the following statement, “After careful consideration in line with my responsibilities under the constitution, I have today given assent to the Domestic Partnership Act 2017.”