Bermuda Supreme Court Strikes Down Law Banning Equal Marriage

Less than a year after same-sex marriages were legalized, the government repealed it.

Bermuda’s Supreme Court has once again struck down a law banning same-sex marriage.

On May 5, 2017, the British Overseas Territory’s highest court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry. Eight months later, Bermuda’s governor John Rankin signed a law officially rescinding same-sex marriage and becoming the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality.

Today, Bermuda’s Supreme Court ruled again it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage five days after the ban took effect.

“Love wins again!” said Zakiya Johnson Lord and Adrian Hartnett-Beasley of OUTBermuda in a statement. “Our hearts and hopes are full, thanks to this historic decision by our Supreme Court and its recognition that all Bermuda families matter. Equality under the law is our birthright, and we begin by making every marriage equal.”

Johnson Lord and Hartnett-Beasley are Directors of OUTBermuda, one of the successful litigants in joint lawsuits brought by Bermudians Roderick Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson with an aim to revoke sections of the recently enacted Domestic Partnership Act that removed marriage rights for same-sex couples. Cruise ship company Carnival also partly funded the challenges.

“We believe it is important to stand by the LGBTQ community in Bermuda and its many allies to oppose any actions that restrict travel and tourism,” Carnival said in a statement earlier this year. “As a company committed to equality, inclusion and diversity, we were disheartened by Bermuda’s subsequent reversal of the May 2017 ruling. We support marriage equality and we have been actively engaged in supporting efforts by OUTBermuda to legally challenge the action to again allow same-sex marriages on the island.”

Same-sex couples will not be able to marry immediately, as the ruling has been stayed for six weeks while the government considers its next steps.

Lamar Dawson is a pop culture junkie and pop diva addict living in Manhattan. Follow him on everything @dirrtykingofpop.
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