The legalisation of gay marriage in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands was blocked by a London court, marking a huge blow to LGBTQ+ equality.
The UK’s Privy Council sided with the government of Bermuda on the issue in an appeal of a local Supreme Court ruling in favour of marriage equality.
At the same time, it declared that the Constitution of the Cayman Islands does not give same-sex couples the right to get married there.
The history of marriage is “one of the stigmatisation, denigration and victimisation of gay people, and that the restriction of marriage to opposite-sex couples may create among gay people a sense of exclusion and stigma,” the Privy Council said in its judgement of the Bermuda case – which saw one judge dissent.
Despite this, it concluded that “international instruments and other countries’ constitutions cannot be used to read into [Bermuda’s constitution] a right to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.”
Judges ruled unanimously when it came to the case of the Cayman Islands and stated that “the effect of the board’s interpretation is that this is a matter of choice for the legislative assembly rather than a right laid down in the constitution.”
The conclusion followed Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush, a lesbian couple, winning a legal battle in 2019 after being denied a marriage license.
The Cayman Grand Court ruled that the refusal to give them one was a violation of the law, though this decision was ultimately overturned by an appeals court several months later – resulting in the pair taking their case to the Privy Council.
Bermuda’s government challenged local court rulings permitting gay marriage which, after working through several courts, also eventually reached the London-based Privy Council.
The Privy Council is the final court of appeals for multiple British territories including several Caribbean islands, the Associated Press reported.
LGBTQ+ activists such as Leonardo Raznovich are planning to challenge the ruling.
“I’m in shock,” he explained to the aforementioned outlet. “The decision is an affront to human dignity.”
Our work will go on. #OutBermuda continues to advocate for equality, justice and dignity for all #LGBTQ+ Bermudians. We will do so with gratitude to all the advocates and allies who stood by us, and generous corporate allies like Carnival Cruise Lines. https://t.co/me6AyL1ZCg
— OUTBermuda (@OUTBermuda) March 14, 2022