Bermuda’s same-sex marriage equality saga has taken yet another turn, after becoming the first nation in the world to reverse marriage equality, Bermuda’s Supreme Court has now ordered the marriage equality legislation to be reinstated.
After first legalising same-sex marriage in May 2017, the government soon enacted a controversial law replacing same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships in early 2018, revoking the previous legislation.
While the Domestic Partnership Act offered same-sex couples similar rights to those enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, stopped short of giving but same-sex couples full marriage equality, with the government at the time buckling to pressure from individuals with religious objections.
The government said at the time that this would “strike a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups”; those in support of same-sex marriage and those with religious objections.
Despite the Government describing the Domestic Partnership Act as “a fair balance between two currently irreconcilable groups,” the Supreme Court found that this “compromise” was not justifiable and ruled that the sections of the new law blocking same-sex couples from marrying are in fact unconstitutional.
“Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole,” explained Chief Justice Ian Kawaley.
“Persons who passionately believe that same-sex marriages should not take place for religious or cultural reasons are entitled to have those beliefs respected and protected by law.”
“But, in return for the law protecting their own beliefs, they cannot require the law to deprive persons who believe in same-sex marriage of respect and legal protection for their opposing beliefs.”
The government now has six-weeks to appeal the ruling before the courts ruling goes into effect, however, the latest development is already being hailed as a major victory for the LGBTI community.
“Love wins again! Our hearts and hopes are full, thanks to this historic decision by our Supreme Court and its recognition that all Bermuda families matter,” claimed OUTBermuda in a statement.
“Equality under the law is our birthright, and we begin by making every marriage equal.”