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The government of Bermuda has asked a British territories appellate court to overturn a ruling against a law that rescinded marriage rights for same-sex couples.
The appeal was filed in the Privy Council in London on Dec. 13, less than a month after Bermuda’s top court ruled the Domestic Partnership Act is unconstitutional.
Governor John Rankin’s decision to sign the law in February sparked outrage among local LGBTI advocates and prompted calls to boycott Bermuda’s tourism industry.
The Domestic Partnership Act took effect on June 1, thus becoming the first jurisdiction in the world outside the U.S. to rescind marriage rights for same-sex couples.
Bermuda Supreme Court Chief Justice Ian R. C. Kawaley five days later ruled the law is unconstitutional. Rankin’s overnment appealed the decision to the Bermuda Court of Appeal.
“The government’s efforts to repeal same-sex marriage have come at quite a cost, not only monetarily, but also in terms of the impact on Bermuda’s LGBT community, and our island’s reputation overseas,” said Roderick Ferguson, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit that sought marriage rights for same-sex couples in Bermuda, in a press release that OUTBermuda, a local LGBTI advocacy group, released last week. “The courts have not found merit in the government’s legal defense thus far, and are highly unlikely to do so upon appeal. At this point, an appeal to the Privy Council would merely serve to suit a political purpose. I implore the government to stop playing politics with the right to same-sex marriage. Let the law uphold the dignity of all Bermudians.”
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.