Lawyers call on Bermuda Premier to reverse ban on same-sex marriage

same sex marriage

An international group of lawyers has called on Bermuda’s Premier David Burt to support a Supreme Court decision to reverse a ban on same-sex marriage in the country.

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) has written to Burt, calling on him to show leadership to Caribbean countries that discriminate against their gay citizens, the Royal Gazette newspaper reported on Wednesday.

It follows a decision by the Bermuda government to launch an appeal last month against a ruling by former Chief Justice Ian Kawaley that allowed gay marriage.

Letter to Britain

The IBAHRI also wrote to former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to condemn the UK government’s failure to advise Bermuda’s Governor John Rankin to withhold assent to the Domestic Partnership Act (DPA), which put a block on gay marriage last December.

The letter to Burt, who has so far declined to comment, welcomed the “positive development made by the Bermuda Supreme Court with respect to the human rights of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) citizens of Bermuda.”

Bermuda became the only country in the world to allow gay marriage and then revoke it after the DPA was passed.

Supreme Court ruling reversed

The DPA reversed a Supreme Court ruling from May last year which paved the way for gay couples to marry in Bermuda and on island-registered ships around the world. The legislation came into force on June 1 and revoked the right of same-sex couples to marry and offered them, and heterosexual couples, legally recognized civil unions.

The Netherlands was the first country to legalize same sex-marriage in 2001.

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