Encouragement for same-sex marriage campaign
Equal rights campaigners in Bermuda have said the legalisation of same-sex marriage across the United States yesterday should serve as a reminder for the Island to follow suit.
The Supreme Court ruled that individual states cannot deny gay couples the same marriage rights as heterosexuals.
The decision was made in Obergefell v Hodges upholding the protection of marriage equality under the Equal Protection Clause of the American Constitution.
A spokeswoman for the LGBT support group the Rainbow Alliance said the move “recognises the fundamental and inherent dignity possessed by all its citizens”.
The statement continued: “It is also a timely reminder that we in Bermuda still have some ways to go. The 2013 amendment to the Human Rights Act and Mr Justice [Stephen] Hellman’s recent decision recognising the rights of same sex couples to adopt are important steps along that path for Bermuda.
“The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda supports marriage equality for Bermuda.”
Shari-Lee Pringle was part of the activist group Two Words And A Comma which led a successful campaign to add sexual orientation to the Human Rights Act 1981 in 2013. Ms Pringle describes herself as “pansexual” meaning she is attracted to people based on their character rather than their sex.
She said yesterday’s ruling would “send ripples around the world”.
“The esteemed judges have spoken eloquently and wisely on a matter that has consequences to thousands whose lives have been in limbo. While persons opposed to same sex marriage may have very valid reasons, religious or otherwise, for opposition, the question everyone must ask is: ‘How does same sex marriage affect them personally and what right should they have to deny others the same legal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples?’
“I’m hoping that Bermuda’s politicians and people will read the arguments made by the respective judges and glean something from each of them. We have a unique opportunity to do better and be better than many of our competing jurisdictions.”
Tony Brannon launched an online petition that attracted more than 2,000 signatures locally and he continues to campaign for equal rights in Bermuda. He said: “This is an amazing victory for Human Rights. President Barack Obama has shown great leadership on this issue. It is now time for all the politicians to get their heads out of the pink sand on this issue. Legalisation of SSM is not only the right thing to do but it will be huge for tourism — which is down this summer. It is time for Bermuda to be on the right side of history. Sadly we are behind”.
Joe Gibbons, a gay Bermudian, was also encouraged by the news. He said: “June is Pride Month and what more can I ask for to be proud about this landmark decision? Perhaps something similar from Bermuda?”