Bermuda: Government to pay same-sex legal bill

The Government has been ordered to pay costs to the couple who won the right for gay people to marry in Bermuda. Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled that all of Winston Godwin and Greg DeRoche’s legal costs should be paid in relation to their claim that they were discriminated against under the Human Rights Act when the Registrar-General refused to post their wedding banns.

The charity Preserve Marriage, which opposes same-sex marriage and was an intervener on the side of the Government in the civil proceedings, will not have to pay costs.

Mrs Justice Simmons said the group had a “genuine interest in the case, they were invited to intervene, and the case involved quasi-constitutional issues regarding fundamental rights”.

The Human Rights Commission, an intervener on the side of the successful plaintiffs, did not win costs from the Government on the basis that it is funded from the public purse so any cost order would “achieve no more than a paper trail of accounting procedures”.

Mark Pettingill, who represented Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche, told The Royal Gazette: “Obviously, I am not surprised that we were awarded costs. I do find it disappointing that Preserve Marriage, which was well funded, effectively got off the hook, but given their status as an intervener I am certainly not shocked.”

Preserve Marriage has applied to appeal Mrs Justice Simmons’s landmark May 5 ruling in favour of Mr Godwin and Mr DeRoche, as has a separate group led by former politician Maxwell Burgess.

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