UK could be forced to justify blocking same-sex marriage for Bermuda and Cayman Islands

16 March 2022, 11:31 | Updated: 16 March 2022, 11:33

British judges have ruled that Bermuda’s ban on same-sex marriage is permitted

By Emma Soteriou

The UK could be forced to justify its decision to ban same-sex marriage in two British territories, a Law professor has told LBC.

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It comes after four British judges, Lords Reed and Hodge, Lady Arden and Dame Victoria Sharp, backed bans on same-sex marriage in Bermuda.

Lord Sales was the only judge to dissent the ruling.

The Cayman Islands ruling was unanimous.

Despite same sex-marriage never being legal in the Cayman Islands, it was legalised five years ago in Bermuda.

Monday's decision is a significant setback for gay and lesbian rights, sparking outrage among the community.

Read more: Outrage as UK Court blocks same-sex marriage for Bermuda and Cayman islands

Speaking on LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast, Nicola Barker said: "It's much more significant for the people of Bermuda who are losing a right, than the people of Cayman Islands who never had that right.

"But it will still be felt strongly by the LGBT community in the Cayman Islands as well."

Ms Barker said, as a result of the response, Bermudan campaigners could take the ruling to the European Court of Human Rights, forcing the UK to justify the move.

"We'd have a situation where UK which obviously has same sex marriage itself would be making an argument to try to defend the Bermudan decision," she explained.

"So they'd hire the lawyers and make the argument…"

Ms Barker went on to say: "This judgement tracks with the more conservative turn that's been made by the UK courts recently in terms of human rights.

"They've taken quite a conservative UK approach to human rights and put that on to Bermuda, whereas the Bermuda supreme court and court of appeal had a much more generous interpretation of their own constitution with regards to rights."

Previous same-sex marriages are still valid in Bermuda, but no one new can get married, Ms Barker explained.