Debevoise Represents OUTBermuda as Intervener in European Court of Human Rights Proceedings Concerning the Revocation of Same-Sex Marriage in Bermuda

31 October 2023

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is representing OUTBermuda as intervener in the European Court of Human Rights proceedings: Roderick Alexander Ferguson & Ors v UK. OUTBermuda argues that revoking LGBT individuals’ right to marry – through Bermuda’s Domestic Partnership Act (“the DPA”) – is unlawful under the European Convention on Human Rights.

OUTBermuda is a registered charity that represents the interests of the broad cross-section of LGBT individuals in Bermuda, and is the largest support organisation for Bermuda’s LGBT community. As the leading organisation representing sexual and gender minorities, OUTBermuda promotes and supports the well-being, health, dignity, security, safety and protection of Bermuda’s LGBT community, and is the first port of call for many of the LGBT community when they require advice and support. OUTBermuda also seeks to advance human rights and conflict resolution, as well as promoting equality and diversity relating to the LGBT community

OUTBermuda argues that the revocation by the DPA of the right to same-sex marriage violates: (i) Article 12 (right to marry); and (ii) Article 14 (non-discrimination), read together with Article 12 and Article 9 (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) of the Convention because:

  • the institution of marriage is profoundly significant to Bermudians and to the members of the Bermudian LGBT community;
  • the DPA was motivated by religious prejudice against the LGBT community;
  • the DPA entails adverse practical consequences for LGBT Bermudians including, for example, in relation to healthcare; and
  • overall, the DPA signals to the LGBT community that they are less deserving of protection under the law and that discrimination on the basis of sexuality is acceptable.

The Debevoise team representing OUTBermuda in its intervention in Roderick Alexander Ferguson & Ors v. UK is led by London litigation partner Conway Blake, international counsel Natasha McCarthy, and associates Mark McCloskey and Doreena Hunt.