Here are all the important dates, facts, rulings, and appeals regarding Same Sex Marriage in Bermuda.
NOVEMBER 2015 The Supreme Court found that the same-sex partners of Bermuda residents should have the same rights to employment and benefits as all other spouses, without restrictions from immigration requirements.
FEBRUARY 2016 The government announced it would hold a referendum on both same-sex marriage and civil unions.
JUNE 2016 Bermudians overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriage and civil unions in the referendum by a margin greater than two-to-one. But with less than 50 percent turnout, the vote was non-binding.
JULY 6, 2016 Bermudian Winston Godwin and fiancé Greg DeRoche filed notice of their intent to marry with an accompanying letter from their attorney Mark Pettingill requesting that the banns be posted within two days. Unless the registrar notified the parties within the two-day time frame, Pettingill warned, proceedings would be initiated in the Supreme Court.
JULY 8, 2016 The Registrar General’s office rejected the application to publish banns for the couple, prompting Pettingill to file a writ asking the Supreme Court to determine if the refusal contravened the provisions of the Human Rights Act.
FEBRUARY 2017 The case was presented to acting Chief Justice Charles-Etta Simmons of the Supreme Court.
MAY 5, 2017 Acting Chief Justice Charles-Etta Simmons returned her verdict, writing: “On the facts, the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage…”
JULY 2017 Following the general election, PLP MP Wayne Furbert announced his intention to re-introduce a bill banning same-sex marriage to the Parliament in September.
AUGUST 1, 2017 Luxury cruise line Cunard, whose ships are registered in Bermuda, announced they would now be offering same-sex marriages aboard their ships.
NOVEMBER 2017 Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown introduced the Domestic Partnership Act to Parliament, adding that he was seeking the country’s feedback.
DECEMBER 8, 2017 The Domestic Partnership Act passed by a 24–10 vote in the House of Assembly.
DECEMBER 13, 2017 The Bill passed the Senate by an 8–3 vote.
JANUARY 28, 2018 UK MPs debate Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership bill in the House of Commons. No firm decision is made.
FEBRUARY 7, 2018 Governor John Rankin signs the Domestic Partnership Act 2017.
FEBRUARY 11, 2018 Following the royal assent of the bill, the Twitter hashtag #BoycottBermuda gains further traction.
FEBRUARY 16, 2018 Represented by Mark Pettingill, comedian Rod Ferguson submits a civil lawsuit claiming the denial of his right to marry his partner amounts to “inhuman or degrading treatment.”
FEBRUARY 28, 2018 Government announces the Domestic Partnership Act will go into effect on June 1.
APRIL 3, 2018 OutBermuda submits an originating summons to the Supreme Court of Bermuda challenging the Domestic Partnership Act, supported by Carnival Corporation.
APRIL 3, 2018 OutBermuda submits an originating summons to the Supreme Court of Bermuda challenging the Domestic Partner- ship Act, supported by Carnival Corporation.
JUNE 6, 2018 Chief Justice Ian Kawaley rules the DPA is against the Constitution, the court agrees to stay the ruling by six weeks, allowing the Government to consider an appeal.
JULY 5, 2018 The Minister of Home Affairs confirms an appeal was filed with the Court of Appeal.
NOVEMBER 7-9, 2018 The Court heard oral arguments for the appeal.
NOVEMBER 23, 2018 The Court upheld the Supreme Court’s ruling and dismisses appeal.
DECEMBER 13, 2018 Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, announced the Government applied to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the ruling to the Privy Council.
MAY 29, 2019 It is confirmed that the Government was granted permission to appeal the ruling to the Privy Council.