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SSM appeal to be heard in November

Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: Greg DeRoche, Winston Godwin, Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson celebrate the Supreme Court decision in June(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The Government’s appeal over the lifting of the ban on same-sex marriage will be heard by the Supreme Court from November 7 to 9.

The appeal was launched after former chief justice Ian Kawaley ruled in favour of marriage equality in June.

Melvyn Bassett, chairman of Preserve Marriage, which leads the fight against same-sex marriage, told The Royal Gazette: “We believe we have done almost as much as we can to encourage the community to express their views.

“We believe we have done our part to encourage the Government to continue to do what the people have expressed they would like in relation to the legislation that was passed. We anticipate that the Court of Appeal will honour the Government’s appeal.”

Asked whether he believed there would ever be a time for same-sex marriage in Bermuda, Mr Bassett responded: “Maybe, but right now there are many people here in this community who are fighting to ensure that does not happen, for the sake of our children, during our lifetime.”

Tony Brannon, an LGBTQ activist who launched a petition in 2015 in an attempt to legalise same-sex marriage, said: “I have been very vocal for the past three years and I don’t see that I can do much more, except for going out on social media and reminding people that these guys are going down the wrong road in the 21st century.

“If they win and it goes to the Privy Council, the legal minds I speak to tell me it will be a slam dunk for the LGBTQ community.

“They are going to lose again — at least that’s what I think is going to happen. There are people having to put their hands in their pocket to fight for justice and now it is going to come out of the taxpayers’ fund.”

Mr Justice Kawaley’s judgment ruled that parts of the Domestic Partnership Act introduced by the Progressive Labour Party were unconstitutional.

The Act was passed in the House of Assembly last December reversing a Supreme Court ruling from May of last year. That ruling declared that same-sex couples have a legal right to marry.

The Chief Justice ruled that the act was out of line with the Constitution which protects the right to freedom of conscience and outlaws discrimination on the basis of creed.

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