Preserve Marriage vows to fight on
An anti-same-sex marriage pressure group said yesterday the courts disregarded a law passed by the Government when it restored the right of gay people to wed.
A spokesman for Preserve Marriage said: “Preserve Marriage and Family Bermuda continues to support the views of what we believe to be the large majority of Bermuda's population and the Government's decision to affirm traditional marriage in Bermuda.
“Members of Preserve Marriage did attend the Appeals Court and it is our opinion that the courts continue to disregard the laws passed by the newly elected government that upheld the views of the people of Bermuda that the union of marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman.
“This was passed with bipartisan support in both Parliament and the Senate, which are the bodies of government that represent the people of Bermuda to create the laws which govern our beloved country.”
The spokesman added: “Although we are not a legal organisation, Preserve Marriage and Family Bermuda supports the fundamental principle that the legislature passes the laws of the country and the courts interpret the intent of a given law.”
The spokesman said that while the Government considered how to proceed, the organisation will work to expand its role in the community.
He said: “This will be done by focusing on supporting marriages and families through associations and partnerships with existing organisations and by hosting various seminars and special programmes.
“We hope to strengthen the families of Bermuda, which in turn, help to strengthen the communities.
“Preserve Marriage and Family Bermuda will also continue to pursue our original mandate by supporting our government in this important fight to preserve traditional marriage in Bermuda.”
The Government tabled and approved the Domestic Partnership Act last year, which was designed to replace same-sex marriages with civil unions, open to both gay and straight couples. But the Court of Appeal ruled on Friday that provisions in the act to ban same-sex marriage were invalid as their primary aim was religious purpose.
It further found the provisions were unconstitutional as it went against a provision to protect freedom of conscience.
Mark Anderson, a civil rights activist, said he was “overwhelmed” by Friday's decision.
He added he hoped the appeal court ruling would close a difficult chapter for the island's LGBTQ people.
Mr Anderson said: “This is going to bring closure to what has been a very challenging time for all of those who have been involved and the community in general.
“It is also positive for tourism. This has put us back in a positive light.
“We are in a new millennium and many countries have moved forward.
“I just hope our government looks at it in a positive way.”
The ruling will also affect cruise ships registered in the island, including Carnival and Cunard vessels and allow them to offer same-sex marriages on board their ships worldwide.
The Government has not confirmed whether it will appeal the decision to London's Privy Council.