BERMUDA: Same-Sex Marriage Legal Again (For Now)

Bermuda’s Royal Gazette reports:

Same-sex marriage campaigners were victorious in court today after the Bermuda Government lost a legal battle. The Court of Appeal dismissed the government’s claim that former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley erred in a ruling that reopened the door for same-sex marriage.

An application by the Government to stay the decision was also refused today, meaning same-sex marriage is now legal. However, the Government may apply for the matter to be heard via the Privy Council in Britain within the next 21 days, at which point a stay may be granted.

Successful applicants Maryellen Jackson and Roderick Ferguson said in a joint statement: “Speaking for ourselves and on behalf of gay and lesbian Bermudians, we are grateful for the court’s decision, and its recognition of the significance of marriage in supporting and protecting our families.

How we got to today is a bit complicated. Back in 2016 Bermudan voters rejected same-sex marriage in a 2-1 vote after an anti-LGBT campaign backed by NOM, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and the Heritage Foundation. In May 2017, the Bermudan High Court legalized same-sex marriage anyway. Then in December 2017, the Bermudan Parliament voted to swap out same-sex marriage with a domestic partners law.

Bermuda had been only the second place in the world to undo same-sex marriage rights. California was the first. Bermuda is one of 14 British Overseas Territories and seven, for now, have legalized same-sex marriage. Following the High Court ruling in June 2017, Bermuda-flagged cruise lines began offering marriages at sea. After the December 2017 vote by Parliament, the Carnival cruise line helped fund the appeal.