Couple Who Paved Way for Gay Marriage in Bermuda Cries Shame on Parliament’s Move to Take Right Away

Greg Godwin-DeRoche (left) and Winston Godwin-DeRoche are disappointed with Parliament’s decision. (Photo Credit: Winston Godwin-DeRoche/Facebook)


HAMILTON, Bermuda Tuesday December 12, 2017 – The two men whose battle to wed in Bermuda led to the landmark ruling that same-sex couples can marry in the British Overseas Territory are crying shame on Parliament’s move to take away that right.

Bermudian Winston Godwin-DeRoche and his Canadian partner Greg Godwin-DeRoche said it was “a shame that it has come to this”.

In May this year, the two went to court to challenge the Registrar-General’s decision to reject their application to marry in Bermuda. Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and declared that same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act.

But last Friday, Parliament passed the Domestic Partnership Act 2017, which replaces same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships that can be entered into by both gay and heterosexual couples. Home Affairs Minister Walton Brown said it would provide same-sex couples with a raft of legal rights but prevent any further same-sex marriages. A total of 24 MPs voted in favour of the Bill.

“It is a shame that it has come to this after such a long fought battle on all our parts. I’m truly sorry that this is the climate and reality we face,” Bernews quoted the couple, who eventually married in Canada, as saying.

They thanked the 10 MPS who voted against the Bill, commending their “leadership and compassion to recognize all people deserve to love and be loved”.

And in a message to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and queer (LGBT) community in Bermuda, DeRoche and Godwin said there was still hope.

“While there is now a greater possibility of marriage equality being reversed, I think it’s important to acknowledge how far we have come and what we have been able to achieve together. Because of each and every one of you, we’ve been able to change the lives of seven beautiful couples and we’ve shown Bermuda that love can win whether or not ‘the country is ready for it’,” they said.

“Moving forward, let’s not hang our heads in disappointment, but hold them high. Look what can be achieved when we work together and fight for love, with love.”

Meantime, an online petition has been launched to stop Parliament from making Bermuda the first country to roll back marriage equality.

It was started by Tony Brannon and had more than 2,400 of the targeted 2,500 by 1 p.m. today.

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