Gay couple in landmark court ruling have tied the knot

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, May 23 2017 – A gay couple whose successful legal challenge opened the way for same-sex marriage in Bermuda have wed in Canada.

Bermudian Winston Godwin and his Canadian partner Greg DeRoche said they decided to have the ceremony in DeRoche’s home city of Toronto after further delays publishing their marriage banns in Bermuda.

They told the Royal Gazette Newspaper that they wanted to be in control of their own marriage and conduct the service on their own terms after the legal ruling.

The short service held on Saturday, was attended by around 20 of the couple’s family and close friends.

“The court case was never really about us as individuals,” Godwin said. “It was more about getting something done in Bermuda that was overdue and needed to happen.

“To see the other same-sex couples using the ruling and getting their banns posted in the paper was the most rewarding thing for us.

“The outcome and its ramifications are what was really important. When it came to our marriage we wanted to keep it small, subdued and informal. And even more importantly, we wanted to feel like we had control of how it happened and who was there.”

The couple launched their fight for equal rights after the Registrar-General rejected their application to marry on the island in July 2016.

They took their case to the Supreme Court, arguing that the Human Rights Act took primacy in Bermuda and protected their right to marry.

Puisne Judge Charles-Etta Simmons ruled in the couple’s favour at the beginning of the month.

The judge ruled that the common law discriminated against same-sex couples by excluding them from marriage.

Godwin added: “We do hope that people can understand why we made our choice. It would have been great to include many of the supporters that started this journey of the case with us but ultimately, due to a variety of factors, including time, we wanted to ensure that we did it our way and on our terms. We thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts that stuck by our side and supported us along the way.”

The Bermuda government has said it will not appeal against the court ruling.

In a referendum here last year, which attracted a less than a 50 percent turnout, voters overwhelmingly rejected same-sex marriage and same-sex civil unions in the island.

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