Bermuda’s LGBTQ community won a crucial victory for marriage equality in November, when the island’s highest court dismissed the government’s latest appeal to strike down same-sex marriage.
Despite the high court ruling, the government of Bermuda is weighing whether to appeal this ruling to the Privy Council in the U.K. -- a desperate attempt to block the path to equality for Bermuda. The deadline for the appeal is December 14.
HRC asked OUTBermuda’s directors, Chen Foley and Zakiya Johnson Lord, what this means for the LGBTQ community.
Is the court’s November 23 decision the final word for LGBTQ Bermudians, and is marriage equality the law of the land?
We hope so. However, the government again is leaving Bermuda and the world in suspense until December 14. We strenuously believe that this is a both a waste of time and an absurd taxpayer expense. The Bermuda courts consistently embrace justice and marriage equality.
If this decision is appealed, what are your chances in the Privy Council?
While we can’t predict the outcome, our attorneys believe this is likely to be our most favorable venue, with a remarkable potential for impacting the work of marriage equality advocates throughout Commonwealth nations, including the Caribbean. If that occurs, the ripples of equality might be quite powerful beyond the borders of Bermuda.
To be clear, can Bermudian same-sex couples marry today?
Yes. The Supreme Court ruled back in 2017 that Bermudians can secure marriage licenses and have their marriages recognized. We are still fighting to make that basic right permanent and lasting for all. Furthermore, two subsequent court decisions have upheld that ruling.
What message do you wish to send to your global allies and advocates?
First, thank you from the bottom of our hearts for standing by Bermudian’s LGBTQ community. We are indebted for the financial, emotional and spiritual support throughout this costly and demanding court process. We are so close now!
All Bermudians look forward to the day that we reconcile our differences, we redeem our blessings and we reward each other with full equality under the law and within our own loving marriages.
For more information about the ongoing work to support LGBTQ equality in Bermuda, check out www.OUTBermuda.org and share support on social media. For more about HRC’s work to support LGBTQ equality worldwide, go to hrc.org/Global.