Bermuda marked International Marriage Week with a ceremony in Hamilton on Wednesday.
David Burt, the Premier, read a proclamation on the lawn of Cabinet Office to kick-start the weeklong celebration of matrimony.
Allan Hunt, founder of the non-denominational Heart-to-Heart Marriage Mentoring Ministries, said the group had organised the event to underline the importance of the institution to society.
Mr Hunt said: “We firmly believe that marriage is the bedrock of all success and that healthy marriages create healthy families.
“We encourage Bermuda to take an in-depth look at marriage and think how marriage is truly worth it and seek ways to strengthen marriage for the good of mom, dad, children and thus, future generations.”
Mr Hunt and wife Mildred, who have been married for 49 years, added the celebration, which will run from today to Valentine’s Day, will include a “Weekend to Remember” conference at the Fairmont Southampton this weekend.
The workshop was designed to help couples achieve success in their relationships.
Mr Hunt said that he defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but said the ministry would not turn away people in same-sex marriages or other forms of partnerships.
He added: “We are a Christian organisation. We celebrate what the Bible teaches us. But when it comes to choices we teach that God loves us so much, he gives us the power of choice.
“If that is what you choose, I am committed to love you. We will not turn anyone away.
“We don’t say ‘no’ to anybody including singles and divorced people.”
Mr Burt said it was important to celebrate marriage.
He added: “The tradition is ongoing in Bermuda and we should continue it.”
Mr Burt said that the argument over same-sex marriage should respect differences of opinion.
He added: “The situation we have is difficult, but the fact is that we should also recognise that as a culture we can celebrate diverse opinions without being disagreeable.
“If there is one thing I wish, whatever the ongoing debates are, is that we can recognise different views with persons and not be antagonistic about it.”
Mr Burt said he would consider performing a similar role in celebrations of other types of relationships.
He added: “Any proclamation that comes will be given due consideration by the Government.
“This group came to me, they have been doing it for multiple years and it is celebrated around the world and if there are other events that we want to bring attention to, it is the right response of the Government to represent all people.”
Mr and Mrs Hunt run the mentoring service out of their Smith’s home.
Tickets for the Family Life Weekend to Remember conference at the Fairmont Southampton, to be held on Saturday and Sunday, cost $175 per person.
They can be bought from the organisers on 293-2903 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org