Not quite the end of the world, is it? Rather, a new awakening
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.
That this couple are of the same sex is significant, for the purpose of yesterday’s ruling by Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons, but purely coincidental from the sense of relationships between consenting adults.
Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche, who may go down as pioneers for the same-sex marriage revolution in Bermuda, having already been established as champions among the LGBTQ community, can triumphantly say: “Now we’ve made our point, let’s go off and get married in the destination of our dreams — Las Vegas!”
They may have paved the way for so many others to feel more accepted in Bermuda and also to have rights that are the equal of those afforded to heterosexual married couples. That is the least they deserve, whether marriage or civil unions becomes the standard for same-sex couples.
Supporters of gay marriage are understandably overjoyed; this has been a long, hard struggle — and even Preserve Marriage, the one group that has been so against same-sex marriage and civil unions, warrants commendation for the measured nature of its response.
The group has gone to great expense to argue its case, and there is no doubt it will feel it still has more miles in its legs and that this race is not over.
However SSM supporters may feel a winning hand was played yesterday, this is not a time for gloating, provocation, name-calling or recrimination; once the dust settles from the Supreme Court, we are reminded that we still must coexist as Bermudians and as neighbours.
We are a largely religious people, and long may that be celebrated, but each passing decade of this millennium has brought with it a looking glass into a more diverse society — in our views and in our levels of tolerance.
Gay men and women in Bermuda, and those living overseas, may be minute in number but the volume of support at a ratio in the vicinity of 6:1 shows a degree of love and compassion for our fellow man.
That number might not have been enough to win the referendum last June — Mrs Justice Simmons would have ruled the same were it valid or not — but the non-binding nature of the exercise made it but a pricey and spineless venture into the realms of futility.
A ball dropped not for the first time by our politicians.
The deck has been cut, shuffled and dealt for the umpteenth time, but unless Preserve Marriage has Benny up its sleeve, the cards may have to be placed on the table in surrender, and we all kiss and make up.
Bermuda needs to be made whole again.
James King (1938-2019)
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