Whilst we in Australia are still waiting for the ruling Lieberal party to drag itself kicking and screaming into the 21st century, or get turfed in next years election, the small country of Bermuda is the latest to move to marriage equality.
Two gay men challenged the law there in the supreme court and won. The judges ruling was very eloquent.
Yesterday a packed courtroom in the Dame Lois Browne-Evans Building erupted into spontaneous applause after Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled in the couple’s favour.
“The common law definition of marriage, that marriage is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, and its reflection in the Marriage Act section 24 and the Matrimonial Clauses Act section 15 (c) are inconsistent with the provisions of the Human Rights Act as they constitute deliberate different treatment on the basis of sexual orientation,” Mrs Justice Simmons said.
“In so doing the common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage and more broadly speaking the institution of marriage.
“On the facts of this case the applicants were discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation when the Registrar refused to process their notice of intended marriage.
“Same-sex couples denied access to marriage laws and entry into the institution of marriage have been denied what the Human Rights Commission terms a “basket of goods”, that is rights of a spouse contained in numerous enactments of Parliament.” She added:
“The applicants are entitled to an Order of Mandamus compelling the Registrar to act in accordance with the requirements of the Marriage Act and a Declaration that same-sex couples are entitled to be married under the Marriage Act 1944.” The Royal Gazette