A lesbian couple are raising money so they can fight for the right to get married in the Cayman Islands
Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush applied for the right to be married in the Cayman Islands on Monday, but had their application rejected due to the fact that they are a same-sex couple.
Chantelle, who is from the Cayman Islands and is also a British citizen, has decided to send up a GoFundMe page with her partner Vickie so that she can fight for the right to be married in her home country.
“It’s funny, because they do actually recognise same-sex unions for foreigners in the Islands,” said Chantelle to PinkNews.
“That alone is completely unjust. They’re turning down Caymanian same-sex marriages from abroad and rejecting the recognition of those when they’ve set the precedent and recognised it for expatriates.
“Vickie and I’s preference was to take the significant step and have this wonderful wedding day. But this special day now has to become this demoralising fight to be recognised in the Cayman Islands, and doing it that way around is tough,” she explained.
“Whenever we want it, it’s all behind us, we can go off and have our wedding and the day that we envisioned, and not have to have any sort of legal consent overshadowing it,” she added.
Chantelle and her wife-to-be want the option to settle in the Cayman Islands, and believe that without the right to marry, they will be viewed as second-class citizens.
“No-one wants to be considered a second-class citizen in their own country. Until you’re in that position you don’t really realise how personal it is, to be rejected from your home country. When your fellow citizens don’t see you as their equal, that’s obviously not true of all Caymanians,” she said.
It has been legal to be gay in the Islands since 2001. Although that legalisation process only took place seventeen years ago, Chantelle said that she is one of many people who think it’s time for LGBT+ rights to move forward in the country.
“I’ve received an outpouring of support from many, many people across all age groups, and across all demographics. I think that’s really encouraging. I think a lot of people believe that Cayman is not ready for equal rights for the LGBT+ community. I think that’s not true. There are just some louder voices that have their views but that’s not the case.
“Younger people are for equality and having the same rights. That’s really comforting, we’ve had nothing but support. We’ve not been paying attention to any negative comments because they’re very much in the minority,” she added.
Although Britain can impose equal rights for LGBT+ citizens in the Islands, it has declined to get involved in the human rights issues of its overseas territories.
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“We just decided that why don’t we seek legal advice and see what our options are. We actually found out we have a quite strong and very winnable case to challenge the government in Cayman because they’re in breach of their international obligations,” she said.
“Cayman Island is an overseas territory. The UK has the ability to make an ordering council and has a responsibility to make their territories extend their LGBT+ rights. They have a priority to force their overseas territories to comply with these standards to do so. How is it that the foreign office can justify this unjust and unequal treatment for overseas territories British citizens? We are British citizens nonetheless.”
The couple have raised £1,338 so far, but they want to ensure that they reach their £25,000 goal so that no same-sex couple in the Cayman Islands has to endure such hardship in the future.
“It just seems very unfair that Vickie and I should be forced to litigate to end up at a result that everyone knows is coming. No-one disputes that this is what needs to happen. No-one’s willing to do the right thing, which is the really sad part,” she said.
“It is frustrating. There are certain things that are fundamental rights.”
Supporters of the cause can donate to Chantelle and Vickie’s GoFundMe page here.