Bermuda’s Supreme Court ruled today that a gay couple has the right to marry.
Judge Charles Etta-Simmons ruled that Winston Godwin and fiancé Greg DeRoche had to be allowed to marry under Bermuda’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.” He added that “same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act.”
Attorneys for the government argued unsuccessfully that the law clearly set out the grounds on which a marriage was void, including if “the parties are not respectively male and female.”
Godwin told reporters that the ruling “was about more than just myself, it’s more than a piece of paper. It’s more than any of that.”
Homophobia and transphobia are major issues in the region, as the legacy of European colonists and Christian missionaries has meant persecution, discrimination and violence for LGBT people. In June 2016, Bermudans voted two-to-one against marriage equality in a public referendum that was non-binding. Anti-gay sentiment in the country has also been fostered by local churches and U.S. groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom.