Winston Godwin & Greg DeRoche: ‘It Is A Shame’

December 11, 2017 | 37 Comments

“It is a shame that it has come to this after such a long fought battle,” but it is important to acknowledge “what we have been able to achieve together,” Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche said following the Domestic Partnerships Act passing in the House of Assembly.

The couple — who filed the legal challenge which paved the way for same sex marriage in Bermuda earlier this year — urged the LGBTQ community and allies to see “what can be achieved when we work together and fight for love, with love.”

Their comments follow after the Domestic Partnerships Act passed in the House of Assembly late on Friday night, with the Bill seeking to replace same-sex marriage with a domestic partnership arrangement which can be entered into by both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

Same sex marriage became legal in Bermuda following a Supreme Court decision in May 2017, when the court ruled that “common law discriminates against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.”

However the Bill seeks to change the legal status, with the Domestic Partnerships Act [PDF] stating, “This Bill seeks to make provision for the formalisation and registration of a relationship between adult couples, to be known as a “domestic partnership”, to clarify the law relating to marriage, and to make connected and related provision.”

While not, technically, a vote on the Bill itself, a vote was taken in relation to moving the Bill back to the full House in anticipation of its third reading, passing 24 – 10, with all PLP MPs and two OBA MPs voting yes, while ten OBA MPs voted no: Opposition Leader Jeanne Atherden, Deputy OBA Leader Leah Scott, Michael Dunkley, Dr Grant Gibbons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Susan Jackson, Trevor Moniz, Leah Scott, Cole Simons, Ben Smith and Jeff Baron.

Audio of the procedural vote count:

Speaking after the Bill passed, Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche, the couple who filed the legal challenge which resulted in same sex marriage being legalised in Bermuda, said, “To the LGBTQ Community and it’s Allies, firstly, despite what our Government says with its vote, you are loved. You are respected. You are worthy.

“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.

“Secondly, thank you! Thank you to the 10 MPs that did reject it, I commend your leadership and compassion to recognize all people deserve to love and be loved.

“To everyone that emailed in or attended the town hall meeting, thank you for everything you as a community have done and continue to do to push our country forward. None of this would have been possible without each and every one of you.

“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 everyone of you, we’ve been able to change the lives of 7 beautiful couples and we’ve shown Bermuda that love can win whether or not ‘the country is ready for it’.

“Moving forward lets 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.”

Bernews interview with Winston Godwin & Greg DeRoche from September of this year::

As the Bill has now passed in the House, it will head to the Upper House, where the Senators will vote on it.

Most the time the Senate tends to also approve Bills that have passed in the House, however they did vote down a related Bill last year, when the Human Rights Amendment 2016 — which aimed to define marriage as between a man and a woman — passed in the House, but was subsequently defeated in the Senate.

However, as stated, Bills that pass the House often pass in the Senate as well, and if the Bill does pass the Senate, it will then be sent to the Governor for assent, and the policies contained in the Bill will be enacted.

As some MPs noted during the debate in the House on Friday night, Bermuda may become the first nation to reverse same sex marriage. As of December 2017, most reports say 26 nations have recognized same sex marriage; even though Bermuda did legalize same sex marriage in May, we were generally never included in the lists reported.

The 26 nations where same sex marriage is legal are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, England / Wales, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Uruguay, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Spain, United States, and Sweden.

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown previously said that, “We are at this point legislatively because we have a rift in our community between two competing positions” one in support of same-sex marriage and one opposed.

Saying that there was a “high likelihood” that a Private Members Bill would have been tabled in Parliament which would have outlawed same-sex marriage and afforded no rights to same-sex couples,” the Minister said the Government “took leadership on the issue and has decided to bring forward this Bill, which will ensure that same-sex couples will have a raft of legal benefits.”

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Comments (37)

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  1. Sean says:

    With the PLP government’s actions, I know that god will ensure the sun always shines over the party. After all, even he wouldn’t trust any of their members in the dark.

    • These persons must abide by the laws of Bermuda.
      If dissatisfied, Australia offers “open” OPTIONS!!

      • Politricks says:

        Gay people are Bermudians as well. Not too long ago you were ranting about Bermudians first. What you meant to say is Bermudians first who agree with the PLP’s agenda. Everyone else can just leave.

        Wow….PLPers are becoming a little more fascist each and everyday.

        Nasty bunch you guys are. Make Trump even look civil.

      • “These persons must abide by the laws of Bermuda.” You do realize that they are abiding by the law of the land. Marriage equality is law in Bermuda. Furthermore they were married before the Domestic Partnership Act has been made law so guess what – THEY ARE MARRIED however you try to slice it for “these persons”!

      • Itstoolate says:

        Exactly. Legislative law always trumps case law.

        The next round of voting will occur in 2022.

      • Sean says:

        Those “people” as you so put it are human being and in most cases Bermudians. Dehumanization is the tool of hatemonger and the popular evils that hide behind the bible in their sunday best.

      • nerema says:

        Others will remember that next time there is a law you find inconvenient.

        None of this s*** about how “slavery used to be legal you know”. Forget that. The law is the law, according to you, and if you don’t like it leave, according to you. Well that’s fine as long as it applies to everyone all the time.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Isn’t it weird how we have to abide by the laws of Bermuda, according to you… until it stops you from discriminating against people for no reason. When that happens, it’s time to add a new law that allows you to do it.


    • Its a shame when I have to be sujected to visualize this unnatural act.

    • Unexceptable to see 2 men in an affectionate state.

      • Mike Hind says:



        Just cuz you’re a bigot doesn’t mean the rest of us should be.

  2. Beautiful says:

    The Oba dropped the ball on this as GOV when their own leader Micheal Dunkely didn’t even show up to vote. Let’s not forget when all those Bermudians showed up on the hill saying no SSM in Bermuda. BERMUDIANS SPOKE THAT DAY AND THEY SPOKE IN JULY AT THE ELECTION.

  3. Hmmm says:

    So i recently had a friend from another country ask me why Bermuda is taking away the right to marry for LGBTQ couples, the first country to do so. I love Bermuda and really wanted to give them a sound, just and logical answer but unfortunately this is the best I could do to sum up the actions of the current government….:
    Foreign friend: why is your government taking away the right to marry for LGBTQ people?
    Me: because our government and their voter base is daft

    • Itstoolate says:

      Typical “SJW” response…anyone that does not agree with your cause, and in this case the vast majority of people here on our island, are viewed by you to be daft.

      Typical leftist narrative…

      Tell me sir…what do have a against children’s rights to a mother and a father as nature would decree? I suppose the very nature of your birth is daft as well?

      • PBanks says:

        Any child raised by a couple (or single parent), gay or otherwise, who wishes to know their birth parent(s), should have that right. Any caring and compassionate set of parents would likely give that request.

      • Mike Hind says:

        Since when does “nature decree” rights?
        And where is it written in law that children have a right to a mother and father?

        You’re spreading misinformation. Please don’t do that. It’s dishonest.

  4. Sickofantz says:

    I would just like to say thank you to Winston and Greg for sticking your heads over the parapet and fighting and representing this worthy cause, in the eventual hope that we can all one day hope to be treated equally.

  5. This is not an issue. If one chooses to marry and are of the same sex, IT SHOULD
    NOT BECOME a legal battle not should it be law in this country, Bermuda. Australia and similar jurisdictions enable this type of law.
    Could better comfort be sought there???
    The government of this country, Bermuda, has put in place what should be adhered to BY LAW!!!
    All the best.

    • bdaboy says:

      “The government of this country, Bermuda, has put in place what should be adhered to BY LAW!!!”

      Laws, like not blocking the HOA?

      You’d have some credibility if you weren’t such a hypocrite.

    • puzzled says:

      And why should people have to move 15 thousand miles from their home to do this.

      • Double S says:

        Because we are led by a fascist Government supported by their equally fascist supporters.

    • Again, you are a broken record. The current law offers marriage equality in Bermuda. So tell me, are you so gong ho on the law only if it is passed by PLP parliamentarians or laws passed in general?

    • Adhered to by law? says:

      We have seen how people manipulate the law to meet their own agendas in this country.

      This blog wins the most humorous of the day. Sadly..,

  6. Blind Sheep says:

    Its a shame but the fight against this bill almost non existent. Where was the matches, the rallies. Non of it happened. While you two won the court battle here but chose to get married overseas made your case weaker.

    • James says:

      The very people that blog against the OBA and PlP governments for not giving in to SSM were to cowardly to organize rallies or marches. They rather type on a blog site using fake names.

    • The Government’s mind was made up way before the draft bill was presented. Why waste time with marches and rallies in Bermuda? There are other ways to protest and show/garner support. Winston & Greg did not lessen the cause by getting married overseas and the LGBTQ community will be forever grateful for what they did which was more courageous that many of our Parliamentarians. Pokey Bermudians simply want the LGBTQ community to have marches and rallies so that they can gossip and speculate on what people are doing in their bedroom and with whom. Yet, let “the gays” show up in a Bermuda day parade and then you are wondering how and what you tell your children. Make up your minds!

  7. bdaboy says:

    ” While you two won the court battle here but chose to get married overseas made your case weaker.”

    Therefore, any Bermudian who gets married in another country, isn’t really married in Bermuda…right?

    You people are too stupid to look forward, it’s amazing.

  8. Upset voter says:

    Could we just get pass this already and get on with the real business in the country. From the start I felt this was nothing but a distraction anyway from real issues in our country!

    OBA brought the issue forward but did not have the guts to do anything about it. At least you got something from the PLP. It may still be the wrong answer but it is still an answer and better then what the OBA offered them.


  9. bdaboy says:

    “OBA brought the issue forward but did not have the guts to do anything about it”

    Maybe too busy trying to bail us out of the MASSIVE DEBT the PLP brought on us.

  10. Coffee says:

    U lots goddee give ve ol’fashion Bermudians some time to get our collective heads round dis gay marraige ding . Ve was bought up from young to know man marry woman … Peanut butta goes wiff jam … Somerset plays St.Georges at Cup match …. UBP represented de oligarchy and de PLP de vorker . And that was correct .. When you teach people from birth the right way of life … How you gonna switch up mid stream .. Sucks teefh .. Re education is a long process .. I once tried a peanut butta and peanut butta sang which and it made a big lump in my throat , I choked badly

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