On June 6, Bermuda Chief Justice Ian Kawaley gave the go-ahead for same-sex couples on the Caribbean island to marry – for the second time.
In May 2017 the Supreme Court legalized the right for gay couples to marry in Bermuda. The decision was then overturned in November by the signing of the Domestic Partnership Act of 2017 by governor John Rankin. The act instead gave same-sex couples the right to a domestic partnership.
Justice Kawaley ruled that the DPA was unconstitutional and stated, “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.”
However, the law will not take effect instantly. A six-week stay period has been initiated to allow the government an opportunity to appeal.
The case of same-sex marriage being lawful in Bermuda was introduced by Winston Godwin and his Canadian partner, Greg DeRoche.
Mark Pettingill who previously represented Godwin stated, “Allowing same-sex couples to marry doesn’t hurt anybody else. The judgment reflects that we can live in harmony and have significant differences of opinion. It demonstrates that we have an excellent judicial process.”