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Bermuda newspaper has perfect response to first same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy May 8, 2017

Same-sex marriage has come to Bermuda, and the local newspaper’s response is giving us life.

Last week a gay couple won a legal challenge to tie the knot in Bermuda, after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that a ban on same-sex unions is a discriminatory violation of human rights

The plaintiffs, Bermudian native Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche, are the first couple to win marriage recognition in the country.

Plenty of locals had opposed the move, with an apocalyptic view of what might happen if gay couples are allowed to tie the knot.

But it turns out what happens when gay couples are allowed to marry is gay couples marry, and everyone else moves on with their lives.

In an editorial, Bermuda’s Royal Gazette poked fun at the critics.

They wrote: “At not long after lunchtime yesterday, a casual look outdoors revealed the sky was not falling; nor was it red.

“Upon further inspection, a saunter towards the coastlines revealed there was no tsunami hurtling towards Bermuda to send us whence we came.

“In fact, it was a most spectacular Bermuda day; beach weather on Cinco de Mayo.

“Traffic was still moving along at its normal, if breakneck, pace — the roundabout outside The Royal Gazette claiming yet another scalp — with typically Bermudian courtesies still being exchanged among passers-by in the busy streets.

“And an expensively priced bag of crisps was still expensively priced.

“In short, the Supreme Court provided the foundation for a same-sex marriage to take place in Bermuda in the future and no one died. Nothing changed.

“But for a couple in love.”

Shia LaBeouf applauds

While handing down her ruling, Justice Charles-Etta Simmons said that the couple were “discriminated against” when authorities previously stopped them from getting married.

“The applicants are entitled to an Order of Mandamus compelling the Registrar to act in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act and a declaration that same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act,” she added.

Last year, voters in Bermuda roundly rejected same-sex marriage in a referendum which was non-binding because of low turnout.

Godwin told Bermudian publication The Royal Gazette: “I feel a huge sense of relief.

“It’s been a long road to get to this stage for me and Greg, and for (their lawyer) Mark (Pettingill), and also for Bermuda.

“It has been a long time coming. This ruling, although it was in our favour…there is still so much more to do in Bermuda.

“This is a big step in the right direction. I cannot thank my legal team and my supporters enough.”

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, an LGBT group on the group of North Atlantic islands, quoted Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche saying: “We appreciate all the positive affirmations and support.

“This has been a long process, but well worth the fight.

“Hopefully, this brings forward hope and courage for those who were/are afraid to speak up or come out. This is a moment we are proud of and will never forget.”

Lawyer Rod Attride-Stirling, who acted on behalf of the couple, said: “I am glad to see that the Bermuda court has followed…South Africa, which decided this issue in 2005, and then the United States, which followed suit in 2015.

“The message of hate and exclusion has been rejected. Human rights means human rights for all humans. Equally. No one is excluded.

“Gays who want to marry can now do so.”

He commented that it was “a matter of great shame” that the Bermudian legislature had not acted before the courts to make same-sex marriage legal.

“Bermuda owes a huge debt of gratitude to the two brave young men who brought this action, Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche,” he added.

“They will always be remembered as heroes of the human rights movement.”

In its statement, the Rainbow Alliance said that the ruling was “a victory for all same-gender loving people in Bermuda.

“In this decision, the courts have affirmed that the love between two consenting adults is worth protecting with law, regardless of gender.

“This outcome ensures that same-gender couples can enjoy the same legal protections as heterosexual spouses do.

“This outcome preserves the notion that love is the greatest force of all.”

More: Bermuda, Gay, LGBT, newspaper, paper

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