Same-sex marriage: couple tie the knot
The couple whose legal challenge paved the way for same-sex marriage in Bermuda have got married in Canada.
Bermudian Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche said they chose to have the ceremony in Mr DeRoche’s home city of Toronto after further delays publishing their marriage notice in Bermuda.
They told The Royal Gazette that they also wanted to be in control of their own marriage and conduct the service on their own terms after the legal ruling.
The short, simple service took place under sunny skies at Toronto City Hall on Saturday at 3pm and was attended by around 20 of the couple’s family and close friends.
“The court case was never really about us as individuals,” Mr Godwin said. “It was more about getting something done in Bermuda that was overdue and needed to happen.
“To see the other same-sex couples using the ruling and getting their banns posted in the paper was the most rewarding thing for us.
“The outcome and its ramifications are what was really important; when it came to our marriage we wanted to keep it small, subdued and informal. And even more importantly, we wanted to feel like we had control of how it happened and who was there.” Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche embarked on their fight for equal rights after the Registrar-General rejected their application to marry on the island in July 2016.
They took their case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Human Rights Act took primacy in Bermuda and protected their right to marry.
At the beginning of this month Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled in the couple’s favour.
“The common law definition of marriage, that marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, and its reflection in the Marriage Act section 24 and the Matrimonial Clauses Act section 15 (c) are inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation,” Mrs Justice Simmons said.
The judge ruled that the common law discriminated against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.
Mr Godwin added: “We do hope that people can understand why we made our choice. It would have been great to include many of the supporters that started this journey of the case with us but ultimately, due to a variety of factors, including time, we wanted to ensure that we did it our way and on our terms. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts that stuck by our side and supported us along the way.”