Bermuda appeals to London high court to ban gay marriage

A gay wedding cake representing same-sex marriage

Bermuda’s government has appealed to a high court in London to uphold a law banning gay marriage on the British overseas island.

The appeal, filed on Thursday (December 13), seeks to enforce the same-sex marriage ban, which had been challenged by local courts on Bermuda, reports Reuters.

It comes after Bermuda’s court of appeal upheld the right for same-sex couples to marry in the British Overseas Territory in a ruling on November 23.

Following the November 23 decision, Bermuda’s government is appealing to the Privy Council, which is the highest court of appeal for British territories.

Bermuda’s government repeatedly tries to ban gay marriage

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

Court records seen by Reuters reportedly show that Bermuda rarely brings cases to the Privy Council, usually only once or twice a year.

“Constitutional issues are important issues and this Government wants to get it right.”

“This is a cynical, bigoted, hypocritical attack on the rights and freedoms of others,” Tony Brannon, a gay rights campaigner in Bermuda, told Reuters.

If same-sex marriage is upheld, LGBT+ rights activists expect it to set a precedent for other British overseas territories.

Bermuda flag

The flag of Bermuda flies as houses dot the hillside across Hamilton Harbour, November 8, 2017. (Drew Angerer/Getty)

Bermuda’s government has been battling to ban gay marriage since a May 2017 Supreme Court ruling on the island gave same-sex couples the right to marry.

Rather than accept the Supreme Court ruling, the Bermudian government passed a fresh law that controversially re-banned same-sex weddings—only for the Supreme Court to strike down that law as well in June 2018.

Bermuda, which has a population of 65,000, is the first country in the world to re-ban gay marriage after legalising it.

It also the first country in the world to re-legalise same-sex marriage as a result of the November decision.

Gay marriage battle impacting cruise liner industry

Bermuda’s shifting gay marriage status has impacted the cruise liner industry. Many ships are docked on the island for financial reasons.

Cruise ship giant Carnival previously announced funding and support for Bermudian LGBT+ groups, after the re-banning of same-sex marriage forced the company to close some wedding packages to gay couples.

Carnival had said the “active engagement” in its registered home port was important to the company, adding: “Carnival Corporation believes our employees, guests and the public at large deserve equal dignity and respect.”

It said at the time: “Our engagement includes providing [LGBT+ group] OUTBermuda with financial, civic and public relations support, as well as involvement by our company.

“While we always abide by the laws of the countries we sail to and from, we believe travel and tourism brings people and cultures together in powerful ways.

“As a result, we believe it is important to stand by the LGBTQ community in Bermuda and its many allies to oppose any actions that restrict travel and tourism.”