The island of Bermuda shocked everyone earlier this month when it became the first place to repeal same-sex marriage. Now a lawyer is challenging the ban.
Mark Pettingill filed a motion on Friday (16 February) against the British territory’s Attorney General to reverse the repeal.
On 7 February, Governor John Rankin signed the Domestic Partnership Act 2017 into law. This changed the Supreme Court’s May 2017 decision to legalize same-sex marriage and instead revert it to domestic partnerships.
The law also states marriages are ‘void unless the parties are respectively male and female’.
Pettingill, formerly an attorney general himself, won the Supreme Court case in May.
However, when Progressive Labour Party gained a majority following the July 2017 elections, his work came undone. Politicians quickly introduced the Domestic Partnership Act and it passed the House and Senate.
Constitutional rights infringed
Pettingill is representing US-based Bermudian Roderick Ferguson.
While Ferguson is currently not attempting to wed, he wants that right for himself in the future.
‘My client has the right to the constitutional protection of the law and that has been infringed as a result of the DPA,’ Pettingill said on Monday (19 February).
Bermuda’s constitution bans discrimination. Pettingill is arguing, then, that the Domestic Partnership Act violates the constitution.
Many groups and British MPs condemned the new law. However, in response to the notion that Britain should have vetoed the decision, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said that would have been inappropriate.
GSN reached out to Pettingill for further comment.