Ferguson & Jackson: Court Win Was ‘Amazing’

June 7, 2018

Speaking after yesterday’s court ruling in favour of same sex marriage, the applicants Rod Ferguson and Maryellen Jackson called the win “amazing,” while their fellow applicant OUTBermuda said, “Love wins again! Our hearts and hopes are full, thanks to this historic decision by our Supreme Court.”

Same sex marriage was initially legalised in Bermuda following a Supreme Court decision in May 2017, however the Domestic Partnership Act  passed in Bermuda’s legislature last year which created domestic partnerships and restricted marriage as being between a man and woman, in effect ‘overturning’ the court ruling, with the DPA taking effect on June 1st of this year.

Yesterday’s ruling was the second court ruling in favour of same sex marriage, meaning Bermuda has legalized same sex marriage, then restricted same sex marriage, then had a court ruling to make it legal again, and the matter is not yet settled, as the Court granted a six week stay to allow time for appeal, and the Government confirmed they “will be appealing subject to any legal advice that we receive.”

Court: Parliament Cannot Impose Religious Preferences On Society

The court judgment [PDF] stated, “Bermuda’s Constitution is a secular one designed to require the State to give maximum protection for freedom of conscience.

“It only permits interference with such freedoms in the public interest for rational and secular grounds which are permitted by the Constitution. The present decision vindicates the principle that Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application.”

The Court ruled the applicants are entitled to a declaration that the provisions of the DPA purporting to reverse the Court’s decision last year legalizing same sex marriage are “invalid” because they “contravene the provisions of section 8(1) of the Bermuda Constitution” and interfere with the rights of those who believe in same-sex marriage.

Lawyer Mark Pettingill

Speaking after the decision was handed down, Mr Pettingill said, “We’re thrilled. I can’t say that there’s any other way to put it. We think that that justice has prevailed, we thought all along that it would prevail, and the right thing has been done.

“I hope that the Government recognize that this is the right thing, and that this isn’t perpetuated out any longer. But, the judgment, with respect to the Chief Justice, is one for the ages.

“I think it will be looked at across the Commonwealth, in case anybody else thinks that they can interfere with the human rights of individuals and with equality. It really is that level of depth to it, with regard to what it addresses.

“I just think it’s fundamentally the right thing that this has occurred this way in Bermuda. That constitutionally, that the law as stands with regard to the issues on same-sex marriage, have been struck down. And it’s as simple as that.”

Video of the lawyers and applicants speaking after the court ruling:

Asked about the six week stay, Mr Pettingill replied, “If you ask me if I’m ticked off, sure I am, because I think that one day is a day too long when it comes to injustice. But, I understand and respect the Chief Justice’s ruling on this.

“They can’t keep, in my view, going down that road of spending money, and money, and money, with regard to addressing the issues that are of a few that just can’t get their heads around why this is an equal right. You can’t cherry pick discrimination. And, I don’t think that that group of people can continue to be placated by the Government funding it, by way of appeal and on to the next thing.

“So, I’m hoping that common sense will prevail,” he added.

Lawyer Rod Attride-Stirling

Mr Attride-Stirling — who represented OUTBermuda and Maryellen Jackson — said, “The impact of this decision was of significance, because various courts have ruled on same sex marriage on different basis, and the courts were required to approach this from a novel basis.

“But the fact is still the same, the principle is still the same, that human rights mean rights for humans, and there is no question that the decision has been correctly decided.”

“As to the appeal,” he added. “I think we’ll be vindicated.”

Rod Ferguson & Maryellen Jackson

Rod Ferguson said, “Obviously, the stay is disappointing because the win was amazing. I’m so excited, it’s a win for equality. For Bermuda, for all us all. It’s amazing,” while Maryellen Jackson also added that it was “amazing to be a part of it, and everyone wins.”

In a joint statement, Mr Ferguson and Ms Jackson said, “We all came to the court with one purpose. That was to overturn the unfair provisions of the Domestic Partnership Act that tried to take away the rights of same-sex couples to marry.

“Revoking same-sex marriage is not merely unjust, but regressive and unconstitutional; the Court has now agreed that our belief in same-sex marriage as an institution is deserving of legal protection and that belief was treated by the Act in a discriminatory way under Bermuda’s Constitution.

“We continue to support domestic partnership rights for all Bermudians to choose, but not at the expense of denying marriage to some.”

The lawyers and applicants after the court hearing:

Court Bermuda June 6 2018 (1)

Government To Appeal

The ruling does not come into effect immediately, as the Court granted a six week stay to allow time for appeal, and the Government has confirmed they plan to appeal.

Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said, “The Government has been informed of the decision of the Chief Justice. The Government will be appealing subject to any legal advice that we receive. As a result we are pleased that the Chief Justice has stayed the decision until an appeal can be submitted.”

As the statement used the term “will be appealing subject to any legal advice that we receive” we sought clarification, as in a yes/no response to will there be an appeal, and Government responded, “Yes they will appeal.”

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Comments (33)

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  1. One Who Escaped says:

    And the government displays their bigotry and ignorance by appealing! Or is that just because they hate to loose? Either way, what a great example they set, yet again, to the world. Keep it up folks, not far to go for your agenda of complete ruination to be accomplished.

    • Shawn says:

      The PLP have shown multiple occasions that they collectively feel above the law (Just like Trump in the USA). They feel they can pick and choose when the constitution and human rights should and should not be applied, which is scary considering they also want to make the island independent, so they can rule totally unchecked.

  2. SMH says:

    Bermuda is nothing but a joke to the rest of the world.

  3. sandgrownan says:

    “…and Government responded, “Yes they will appeal.””

    Christ. What a complete shower of utter utter scumbags. Shame on them. Walton is basically saying “we demand the right to discriminate”

    • jt says:

      He’s showing his true self now that he can’t fall back on the threat of Furbert’s private member’s bill as his excuse.
      All these years he presented himself as Bermuda’s bastion for the protection of human and minority rights. Now we know the truth.

  4. Jimmy Swaggert says:

    Romans 1: 25 – 28
    25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
    27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
    28 Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

    • Mobile says:

      This is hot.

    • Reuben says:

      That is your view and you are very welcome to have it but it should not be forced on me.

    • Anbu says:

      Sorry jimmy, ive never bothered to read the bible so those verses mean about as much to me as a comic book. But keep pushing those religious views on others. Thump away man…….thump away

    • A says:

      And there shall in that time be rumours of things going astray, and there will be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things with the sort of raffia work base, that has an attachment…at this time, a friend shall lose his friend’s hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before around eight o’clock…

    • legalgal says:

      For a gay Christian view try reading Peter Gomes’ Good Book.

    • Mike Hind says:

      “…Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application.”

      What this means is that we are all protected from someone imposing their religion on us. Just because yours is the predominant religion that doesn’t mean you get to ignore the law.
      Unless you’d be cool with, say, Sharia Law being imposed?
      If you wouldn’t want someone else’s religious rules imposed on you, don’t try to impose yours on others.

      Things being against your religion means that you don’t get to do them, not the rest of us.

    • PBanks says:

      I love how the poster chose Jimmy Swaggert of all people as their pseudonym

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      It’s funny that no jurisdiction that has same sex marriage, has seen a rise in ‘shameful acts’ or ‘depraved minds’, but in fact, the majority of jurisdictions that constantly rank highest in happiness, social equality and social justice metrics, are same sex marriage jurisdictions.

      The fact of the matter is that while the bible may have been inspired by god, it was written and edited and re-edited by the hands of man, and is inherent of all the virtues and flaws that are a part of being any human, and so must be read as such.

  5. Stop with the bigotry says:

    How much has this cost taxpayers so far and how much more will this appeal cost? Where is the transparency over these costs?

  6. Lol says:

    I must say I’m at odds. Even though I feel everyone has their right to be happy, this is a blow to the system of democracy. Democracy has always been majority say, majority votes, majority ruled. Supposedly. With that said, let’s be totally honest the majority of Bermuda does not want same sex marriages to be legal in Bermuda. Why is it in a democratic country the very foundation of democracy is being overlooked and out right changed to suit a group’s agenda. Again if majority wanted this I’m for it but in this case the majority did not want this including white ppl(you are not going to act like it’s just blacks who are mostly against it). This is going to cause a whole lot of friction in Bermuda. I just want everything to work out for the best for everyone.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Here we go with the ‘majority’ myth again . Where do you get your majority figures from ? And please don’t refer to a referendum that was invalidated by insufficient turnout .
      And furthermore , your remark about ‘if a majority wanted this ,then you’d be for it’ is just ridiculous.
      What does the majority have to do with your own feelings/opinion ? If everyone decides to jump of a cliff you’re going to do it too even though you don’t want to ?

    • Cow Polly says:

      The majority didn’t want interracial marriages or abolish slavery or give women the right to vote. The only way to push human rights through is to go against the majority.

    • sandgrownan says:

      This isn’t about “majority rule” dimwit.

    • Covfefery says:

      Let’s talk about democracy. You, me, and my two best friends are going to go to lunch. We’re going to vote on who pays the whole bill every week.

      Every week, we will vote you have to pay the whole bill. That’s what the most people want, so that’s how we decide.

      And in my scenario, I get to pick where lunch is and you have to eat there when I say so. Well you don’t have to eat actually but you can’t eat anywhere else and you definitely have to pay.

      So, see you tomorrow at 12:30? Or do you wish there was another way to determine basic fairness?

    • legalgal says:

      For a gay Christian view try reading Peter Gomes’ Good Book.

    • What? says:

      Wait….when wass there a vote that counted? Last I checked an overwhelming majority didn’t vote. I believe 14,000 voted against it vs the 44,000 registered voters? That’s only 31.8% sooooo no majority did NOT vote. I assume the remainder didn’t show up because they didn’t care…so if they didn’t care…why is this even a debate>

    • Mike Hind says:

      That’s not how it works.

      Democracy means that we all agree on a set of rules that guide and protect us.
      These are the constitution and laws.

      We can’t go against these rules with other laws.

      In this case, given that the ONLY reason offered, ever, is that it’s against someone’s religion, the DPA is based on religion, which we’re not allowed to do.

      “…Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application.”

      This protects all of us and I don’t think anyone wants that bit of our laws changed, as it could lead to a theocracy, which I don’t think anyone really wants (and if your think it might not be a bad idea to have a theocracy, imagine if it was someone else’s religion that denies you basic rights that everyone else has… say, driving a car or owning property or moving freely in public.).

      Hope this clears things up a little.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      Democracy is the balance of majority will to the requirement that all must be equal under the laws first. That is why there are freedoms of religion and creed and anti discrimination written into the base tenants of democratic foundations. Majority will isn’t inherently democratic, in fact without those protections, it is totalitarianism.

  7. puzzled says:

    Enjoy the cruise ships.
    People want a cheap vacation and all the food they can eat for 5-7 days.
    Might as well just throw some concrete blocks around the steel at the new terminal and make em walk to Hamilton.

    Money, bigots, greed and racism.


    • What? says:

      Check you out grabbin straws lol. That all you got?

  8. facts of the rock says:

    the plp have seriously upset the major cruise ships as they actually helped fund this court case.

    The British Government are also involved again.
    Boris has serious questions to answer again.

    The plp should be investigated and forced to disband and Direct Rule enforced.

    Wilst Bermuda has this evil plp in power there will always be unrest and many are just waiting in the shadows.

  9. Erica Walker says:

    Isaiah – 3:9
    For the look on their faces bears witness against them; they proclaim their sin like Sodom; they do not hide it. Woe to them! For they have brought evil on themselves.

    • Mike Hind says:

      your religion is yours.
      It is against the law to make other people follow the rules of your religion.

      “…Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application.”

      This protects all of us.

    • Build a Better Bermuda says:

      God hasn’t smote a single same sex jurisdiction, in fact they constantly rank highest in happiness and equality (social and justice) metrics.

    • Mike Hind says:

      “…Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole through legislation of general application.”

      This protects all of us.

    • lol says:

      Sorry Erica Law>God

      God is a fictious character made up by people who know very little 2000+ years ago.

  10. SMH says:

    ^ Wacko ^