Bermuda's Supreme Court restores same-sex marriage

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The flag of Bermuda flies over the commercial and retail district in Hamilton, Bermuda, in November  2017.

CNN  — 

Advocacy groups have welcomed this week’s ruling from Bermuda’s Supreme Court that a new law replacing same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships is unconstitutional.

The Domestic Partnership Act was signed into law in February and banned same-sex marriage, which was first legalized by the Supreme Court in May 2017. Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown said at the time that the law proved Bermudians do not want same-sex marriage.

The law was harshly criticized by LGBT advocacy groups and seen as a major step backwards.

But the high court ruled Tuesday that the Domestic Partnership Act was discriminatory and violated constitutionally protected freedoms.

In his judgment, Chief Justice Ian Kawaley wrote that “Parliament could not validly reverse this Court’s decision that same-sex marriage was a right guaranteed by Bermudian law.”

Brown said the government would appeal the Supreme Court ruling, according to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette.

The ruling was celebrated by international advocacy groups that saw the government’s repeal of marriage equality as a dangerous precedent.

“Love wins again! Our hearts and hopes are full, thanks to this historic decision by our Supreme Court and its recognition that all Bermuda families matter,” the advocacy group OUTBermuda said in a statement. “Equality under the law is our birthright, and we begin by making every marriage equal.”

OUTBermuda was one of the plaintiffs in the case along with several Bermudians arguing for the right to marry their partners.

“The Bermuda Supreme Court has righted the injustice that occurred when Bermudian lawmakers made the islands the first national territory in the world to repeal marriage equality,” said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign’s global department. “We congratulate the plaintiffs in this case on their historic victory ensuring that once again, Love Wins!”

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