Independent MP Mark Pettingill has confirmed that Bermuda’s Registrar General has published the marriage banns of a lesbian couple, who intend to wed in Bermuda.
When contacted by Bermuda Real, Mr Pettingill said: “A lesbian couple filed two weeks ago and their banns have been posted by the Registrar.”
This after Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled in favour of another gay couple – Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche fought for the right to marry in Bermuda.
Represented by Mr Pettingill, the couple brought a civil suit against the Government after the Registrar General refused to publish their marriage banns, claiming his failure to do so was discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
Since the ruling handed down earlier this month, the One Bermuda Alliance administration has stated that they do not intend to appeal the landmark ruling on same-sex marriage in Bermuda. That prompted Opposition MP Walton Brown to question Home Affairs Minister Patricia Gordon-Pamplin in the House of Assembly.
In her response on Friday, the Minister said legal amendments will be drafted. Responding to the Progressive Labour Party MPs questions, she said discussions are being held between the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Attorney General’s Chambers to identify the necessary amendments.
When asked whether marriages conduced before the amendments would be legal, Ms Gordon-Pamplin said she would await answers from the Attorney General.
That prompted Independent MP Mark Pettingill to ask what’s taking the Bermuda Government so long? He noted that the Supreme Court ruling set out “very, very clearly what the position was in law – it should have taken five minutes for the AGs chambers to advise,” said Mr Pettingill.
The Minister, in her response said: “I am not a lawyer, and I don’t wish to misspeak.”
When Bermuda Real followed up with questions put to Mr Pettingill based on law, he said: “It is now as a result of the judgment legal for same-sex couples to marry! A lesbian couple filed two weeks ago and their banns have been posted by the Registrar!”
On the recent court ruling he said: “This was a case of statutory interpretation as I repeatedly said and the Supreme Court very clearly ruled on what that was. In effect a same-sex couple cannot, given the primacy of the Human Rights Act, be denied the same rights and services as anyone else!
“Contractual marriage is a service and on legal interpretation is a right of same-sex couples. The case was about defining the law not remaking it,” he added.
In her ruling earlier this month, Justice Simmons ruled in favour of Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian fiancé Greg DeRoche, who had fought for the right to marry in Bermuda.
Mr Pettingill represented the couple in their civil suit against the Government after the Registrar General refused to publish their marriage banns, claiming his failure to do so was discrimination under the Human Rights Act.
Now that the banns of another gay couple have been published by the Registrar General, it would appear that it’s just a matter of time before a same-sex marriage takes place in Bermuda. That’s with or without the proposed amendments being discussed by the Minister of Home Affairs with the Attorney General’s Chambers.