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Bermuda Gov't loses same-sex marriage appeal

Friday, November 23, 2018

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HAMILTON, Bermuda (CMC) — Bermuda's same-sex marriage campaigners celebrated in court on Friday after the ruling Progressive Labour Party (PLP) Government lost its latest legal battle.

The Court of Appeal dismissed the government's claim that former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley erred in a ruling that re-opened the door to same-sex marriage in this British Overseas Territory.

The judge had found that a clause in the Domestic Partnership Act (DPA) which specified marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional.

An application by the Government to stay the Court of Appeal's decision was also refused on Friday, meaning same-sex marriage in the island and on Bermuda-registered ships is now legal.

However, sources said the Government may apply for the matter to be heard by the Privy Council in London within the next 21 days, at which point a stay may be granted.

Bermuda became the only country in the world to have allowed same-sex marriage and then banned it. The case was the latest in a series of legal battles over same-sex marriage in Bermuda.

In a joint statement, the successful applicants Maryellen Jackson and Roderick Ferguson said “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.

“Equality under the law is every Bermudian's birth right. Bermuda's LGBTQ community is strong and proud. When our voices join together, we will be heard, and we will continue to make progress.”

Zakiya Johnson Lord, a spokeswoman for the charity OutBermuda, said “today's ruling makes history for Bermuda and our nation's dedication to equality and fairness for all citizens, including our LGBTQ families. We believe there is nothing more fundamental than the right to marry the one we love.

“Ms Jackson and Mr Ferguson are Bermudians who personally took a brave public stand to fight for the right to marry for all gay and lesbian Bermudians and we are proud to work with them and the countless others who have made today a reality.”

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