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Same-sex marriage advocate releases video

  • Legal action: Rod Ferguson has launched case against same-sex marriage decision

The man suing the Government over the axing of same-sex marriage has filmed a video designed to attract financial backers for his legal fight.

Rod Ferguson said the Domestic Partnership Act 2017, which replaced same-sex marriage with domestic partnerships, was a “legal booby prize” for gay couples in the one-minute recording.

Mr Ferguson said in the video: “Bermuda made headlines this February when it passed a law that took away the right of same-sex couples to marry, replacing it with domestic partnerships, the legal booby prize for couples whose love for one another is just a little bit ... hmmm.”

He added he was “tormented” for most of the 18 years he grew up in Bermuda “on the suspicion of my being gay”.

Mr Ferguson said: “The reason this case is important is that Bermuda already made same-sex marriage legal through a court case less than a year ago, so this legislation, bowing to the homophobic will of the majority, is actually a step backward.

“Many advocated a boycott of Bermuda but the best way to help correct this injustice is to help fund the legal fight to invalidate this discriminatory law.

“Please support the Crowd Justice campaign with any amount that you can.”

The video was produced by Crowd Justice, the online crowdfunding platform for legal action where donations can be made towards Mr Ferguson’s campaign. A total of 174 people had pledged £34,287 — about $48,537 — towards the £50,000 target by yesterday afternoon.

Mr Ferguson’s effort came as marriage equality in Bermuda continued to spark debate in the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, was asked by Labour MP Chris Bryant last week why no British government minister had told Bermuda not to abolish same-sex marriage.

Mr Johnson said during a session of the Foreign Affairs Committee that he had a “long conversation” on the subject with David Burt, the Premier, last month.

Mr Johnson added: “I made the point to him — what I passionately believe — that one of the reasons why this city of London, of which I used to be Mayor, one of the reasons why it’s a fantastic place to live, is people feel like they can live their lives in any way they want providing they do no harm to others and that it is a great economic benefit to show that spirit.

“That was the argument I made to him.”

Mr Burt confirmed the phone conversation took place.

He said yesterday: “No new ground was covered. However, I reiterated the Bermuda Government’s position on the matter, which was passed in both houses of the Legislature and given the assent of the UK’s appointed Governor.”

Mr Bryant has raised the Domestic Partnership Act in the House of Commons several times.

He asked last month why Mr Johnson “allowed Her Majesty’s Governor of Bermuda to assent to a bill that will abolish same-sex marriage in Bermuda”.

Harriet Baldwin, Minister for the Department of Development, said that the foreign secretary decided “it would not be appropriate to use the power to block legislation, which can only be used where there is a legal or constitutional basis for doing so, and even then, only in exceptional circumstances”.

She added: “It is important to recognise that the regime for domestic partnerships implemented by Bermuda in its Domestic Partnership Act can also meet the European Court of Human Rights requirement for legal recognition of same-sex relationships.”

Ms Baldwin wrote in a March 1 letter to Mr Bryant, which he later posted on Twitter: “We must ... recognise that major attitudinal changes cannot be imposed from outside.”

The BBC reported on Monday that Carnival Corporation, the cruise firm that owns P&O and Cunard, faced a boycott from LGBT travellers after gay weddings on its Bermuda-registered ships were cancelled.

Human rights lawyer Jamison Firestone wrote an open letter to the company and accused Carnival of “colluding with a homophobic government by continuing to register its 24 ships in Bermuda”.

P&O has said it is opposed to the new law.