Bermuda’s Court of Appeal has upheld the island’s Supreme Court ruling to keep same-sex marriage legal.
Earlier this year, Bermuda became the first territory to legalise and subsequently repeal marriage equality.
The appeal against marriage equality was brought forward despite a Supreme Court ruling last year which authorised the same-sex marriage.
In December 2017, legislation banning same-sex marriage passed Bermuda’s Senate and House of Assembly by wide margins following a referendum in which the majority of voters opposed same-sex marriage.
Bermuda’s minister of home affairs, Walter Brown, said the updated legislation would “strike a fair balance” between the socially conservative island while also complying with European court rulings in regard to the recognition and protection of same-sex couples.
“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 recognising and protecting the rights of same-sex couples,” said Brown.
That updated legislation was today overturned by the Supreme Court.
LGBTI advocates in Bermuda celebrated today’s victory.
OutBermuda spokeswoman Zakiya Johnson Lord 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.”
This may not be the final battle for marriage equality in Bermuda. Arguments are currently being held in the Court of Final Appeal to decide whether its decision should be stayed for 21 days to allow the government to lodge an appeal to the Privy Council.
The Judicial Committee of The Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for UK territories overseas.
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