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Bermudan court rules in favour of marriage equality

Bermuda’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of marriage equality and gay couples will now be allowed to tie the knot.

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In a landmark case, Judge Charles Etta-Simmons ruled that Winston Godwin and fiancé Greg DeRoche had to be allowed to marry under the country’s Human Rights Act.

“On the facts, the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage.”

The Judge made his ruling clear by adding that “same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act.”

Government lawyers had unsuccessfully argued that marriage could only be between a man and a woman.

Advocates for ‘traditional marriage’ immediately slammed the decision as an “attack on Christian and other faith-based and traditional values” and said the ruling “directly undermines the diverse population of Bermuda.”

The group Preserve Marriage, said the judges decision had contributed to the “further fraction” Bermudan society.

Speaking to reporters after the decision was handed down Winston Godwin said the ruling “was about more than just myself, it’s more than a piece of paper. It’s more than any of that, it’s what this means for Bermuda moving forward.”

Speaking to The Royal Gazette Godwin spoke about the support he’d received from the LGBT community and how the decision would begin to end homophobia in Bermuda.



Lawyer Rod Attride-Stirling, who acted for the Human Rights Commission, said he was glad to see Bermuda following in the footsteps of other nations that have achieved marriage equality, but it was disappointing the country’s government had failed to act.

“I am glad to see that the Bermuda court has followed…South Africa, which decided this issue in 2005, and then the United States, which followed suit in 2015.

“The message of hate and exclusion has been rejected. Human rights means human rights for all humans. Equally. No one is excluded.

“Gays who want to marry can now do so.” Attride-Stirling said.

He added it was a “great shame” the issue had been resolved by a court case rather than the country’s government being proactive.

“Bermuda owes a huge debt of gratitude to the two brave young men who brought this action, Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche,” Attride-Stirling said.

“They will always be remembered as heroes of the human rights movement.”

In 2016 Bermuda held a non-binding referendum on marriage equality in which two thirds of respondents voted against allowing same sex couples the right to wed.

As less than 50% of voters took part in the poll, it’s results were invalid.

OIP Staff

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