Government wanted the delay to allow wide-ranging legislative changes. But Kawaley said the ruling would come into effect on February 29, 2016.
The decision comes less than two weeks after the chief justice ruled in favour of the Bermuda Bred Company — a group of bi-national same-sex couples — in a civil case against the Minister of Home Affairs and the Attorney General’s Department.
The court found that the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act had to be read in conjunction with the Human Rights Act, which forbids the denial of services based on marital status or sexual orientation.
The Government subsequently sought to have the courts suspend the declaration from coming into effect for 12 months, arguing that a broad range of legislation would have to be amended in order for government to comply.
During a court hearing on Monday, attorney Phil Perinchief said a suspension of at least four months was needed, stating that both the approaching Christmas season and budget period would impact progress.
As a result, he found that it was appropriate to suspend the declaration for a “short time” to ensure that the minister at a minimum can put the administrative changes in place, even if there is not enough time to make the desired legislative amendments.
Same-sex marriages are not permitted in Bermuda but some gay couples here go abroad to get married.
Bermudians remain “split” on same-sex marriage, according to Minister of Community, Culture and Sport Patricia Gordon-Pamplin.
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