The Supreme Court in Bermuda has reversed ban on same sex marriage that was decided in February, the first jurisdiction in the world to take such a step backward, according to media reports following a referendum.
Carnival Corporation & plc has many ships registered on the island that is a British crown dependency and the Anglo-American cruise giant had joined forces with those calling for scrapping of the ban.
The ban has prevented same sex marriages being conducted on board ships of Carnival group ships that are registered on Bermuda. These include all ships of Cunard Line and the majority of those of Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises. Same sex marriage is legal in the UK apart from the province of Northern Ireland.
P&O Cruises has posted computer generated footage of its next ship, the 180,000 gross ton Iona, on YouTube that shows Southampton in the UK as its port of registry, the same as of Britannia that was introduced in 2015.
Bermuda Chief Justice Ian Kawaley was cited by The Independent newspaper in London as writing in his decision: “Parliament cannot impose the religious preferences of any one group on the society as a whole. One side of the freedom of conscience coin is that as a general rule no one can be compelled to participate in activities, which contravene their beliefs.”
“The other side of the same coin is that the State cannot use the legislative process to pass laws of general application which favour some beliefs at the expense of others.”
The Bermuda government has six weeks to consider whether it is to appeal against the ruling, the Independent reported.
Carnival UK president Josh Weinstein said in an interview with Travel Weekly: “We are delighted that the supreme court of Bermuda has decided that same sex marriage is legal in Bermuda and we congratulate OutBermuda on its hard-won challenge. As a result of the judgment, it will also now be legal for same sex couples to marry on board cruise ships registered in the country.”
“As a company committed to equality, inclusion and diversity, we believe everyone deserves equal dignity and respect, and we are proud to have provided our support to OutBermuda’s efforts to champion marriage equality. We will now be working closely with the Bermudan authorities to understand when we will be able to resume marrying same sex couples on board.”