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Ferguson explains challenge to civil unions

Rod Ferguson

A Bermudian who is challenging the gay marriage ban has spoken of his heartache that Bermuda has “moved backwards” while other countries become more progressive.

Rod Ferguson, 38, filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against the Attorney-General, claiming that the Domestic Partnership Act, which replaces same-sex marriage with civil unions, is unconstitutional.

Mr Ferguson, who lives in the United States, said: “While I may not have a partner at this time, I have always considered myself to be the marrying kind.

“I was heartbroken over the outcome of Bermuda’s 2016 referendum on same-sex relationships. I rejoiced when Bermuda finally established the right for same-sex couples to marry in 2017 and I had planned to exercise that right some day, but then it was taken away through the passage of the Domestic Partnerships Act.

“I strongly believe that this is a fundamental human rights issue, that everyone is entitled to the same protection of law, which includes the service of a contractual marriage in Bermuda.

“When the rest of the right-thinking world has accepted the position that marriage should be available to same-sex and opposite-sex couples alike, it is very disappointing that my own country has effectively moved backwards.”

Last May, gay people were allowed to marry in Bermuda after couple Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche successfully litigated against the Registrar-General for refusing to post their wedding banns.

However, that ruling was reversed by the Domestic Partnership Act, which was approved by Parliament in December and given Royal Assent by John Rankin, the Governor, on February 7.

Mr Ferguson said: “I am grateful for what so many others have done to contribute to Bermuda’s movement towards marriage equality, and I’m privileged to be in a position, with the support of family, friends, and the LGBT community, where I can now stand up and do my part.

“I have taken the decision to make this legal application to protect my rights along with the rights of so many of my fellow Bermudians.”