Bermuda: Ruling could have international impact

A ruling by the Court of Appeal to allow same-sex marriage in Bermuda could have international implications, a lawyer involved in the case said yesterday.

Rod Attride-Stirling, who represented Maryellen Jackson and OutBermuda, said the judgment could be “the most important decision the country has ever produced” because it was the first to find in favour of same-sex marriage on the grounds of freedom of conscience.

He said: “No one has done this before. In all of the European Convention cases, they all dealt only with sexual orientation discrimination because that was considered the easy approach.

“This is revolutionary. This sets a precedent, a massive precedent, for other jurisdictions. It’s an incredibly important judgment for all of us in Bermuda and beyond.”

Mr Attride-Stirling explained the decision could be used to open doors for equal rights in countries which do not protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

He said: “The problem that many countries have is they don’t have sexual orientation discrimination protection, so they didn’t have that to hang their hat on.

“We just opened up a whole new avenue for marriage equality by arguing freedom of conscience.

“All those countries will now have the ability of running a whole new argument, and I expect to see more and more countries run arguments like these.”

Mr Attride-Stirling said the Cayman Islands were set to hear arguments about same-sex marriage in February, and that he expected the freedom of conscience argument will be put before the courts there. Read more via Royal Gazette