Same-sex marriage case heading to court
The battle for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples will have its final day in court later this year.
The Bermuda Government, which has appealed a Court of Appeal ruling that opened the way for same-sex marriages, confirmed that its last documents had been filed with the London-based Privy Council, Bermuda’s final court of appeal.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Legal Affairs said both sides had agreed on a statement of facts — where the parties concur on relevant details for the case — and filed it with the Registrar of the Privy Council.
She added: “Enquiries are being made as to suitable dates for the hearing this matter in the latter part of this year.”
Concerns were raised last month after the Government missed a deadline to file with the Privy Council by December 13 last year.
Rod Attride-Stirling, who represents gay rights organisation OutBermuda and four other litigants, warned the delay raised a risk of dismissal of the case by the Privy Council’s judicial committee.
But the ministry spokeswoman said that “contrary to a previous report in the media, the appeal was not at risk of being struck out, nor had any application been made to strike out the appeal”.
The Royal Gazette understands, however, that the Government had to request special permission from the Privy Council judicial committee to file the statement late.
The case can now be set down for a hearing at Britain’s top court.
The right to same-sex marriage has been disputed in the courts and Parliament for several years, but the Privy Council’s ruling will settle the case one way or the other.
The ruling will also set a precedent in the UK’s Crown Dependencies and Overseas Territories, as well as several of Britain’s former territories.
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