Bermuda appeals to London high court to enforce gay marriage ban

/ Source: Reuters

HAMILTON, Bermuda — Bermuda’s government on Thursday filed an appeal to a high court in London seeking to uphold a law challenged in local courts that would ban gay marriage in the British overseas island.

In February, Bermuda’s governor, John Rankin, approved the Domestic Partnership Act (DPA), which allows same-sex couples to form domestic partnerships but not marry, marking a rare departure from the trend toward legalizing gay marriage in Western countries.

Rod Attride-Stirling, left, a lawyer who successfully challenged legislation banning gay marriage, poses for a photograph with gay rights supporters Judith Aidoo-Saltus, Winston Godwin, Maryellen Jackson, Zakiya Johnson Lord and Adrian Hartnett-Beasley in front of court after the hearing, in Hamilton, Bermuda Nov. 23, 2018.Emma Farge / Reuters file

The government of Bermuda, a wealthy territory of 60,000 people, says domestic partnerships offer equal rights as marriage. But two local courts deemed the DPA unconstitutional, most recently in November, suspending its implementation.

Thousands of people on the socially conservative island support a ban on gay marriage.

Bermuda’s government said it is appealing the matter to London’s Privy Council, the highest court of appeal for British territories, because the matter is of general public importance.

“Constitutional issues are important issues and this Government wants to get it right,” the government said in a statement on Thursday.

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