The Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, has legalised same-sex marriage with immediate effect.
The Grand Court of the Cayman Islands ruled in favour of marriage equality on Friday (March 29), legalising same-sex marriage following a court case brought against the Cayman Islands by a lesbian couple.
The ruling comes less than a year after Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush applied for the right to be married in the Cayman Islands, but had their application rejected due to the fact that they are a same-sex couple.
They initially said that they’d be prepared to accept a civil partnership as long as their relationship could be recognised by law, but since their plea was rejected they were forced to litigate to have their relationship officially recognised.
“The Chief Justice’s judgment beautifully combines the common law and European Court case law, with a healthy dose of common sense. Equality means equality. Love is love.”
— Peter Laverack
The couple then set up a GoFundMe page to fight for the right to be married in her home country.
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On Friday, the Chief Justice accepted their arguments, modifying the Marriage Law with immediate effect to allow same-sex marriage.
“Same-sex marriage is now lawful in the Cayman Islands!!” Peter Laverack, an attorney for the couple, tweeted on Friday.
He added: “Congratulations to my clients Chantelle & Vickie. Pleasure to have been junior counsel to Ed Fitzgerald QC Doughty Street and Ben Tonner QC.”
Laverack was nominated for PinkNews Campaigner of the Year in 2018 for his advocacy on LGBT+ rights around the Commonwealth.
In a statement to PinkNews, he said: “Chantelle’s and Vickie’s relationship finally has been recognised. For too long they and their daughter were denied what loving couples and ordinary families take for granted. The Chief Justice’s judgment beautifully combines the common law and European Court case law, with a healthy dose of common sense. Equality means equality. Love is love.”
Jonathan Cooper, barrister at Doughty Street who has advised the couple on their case, said: “Chantelle and Vickie should not have been forced to litigate in order to have their relationship recognised in law. It’s a scandal that the FCO made them do this. When will this Government put its money where its mouth is and mainstream LGBT equality across the board?
“The FCO could and should have insisted that all British Overseas Territories recognise LGBT relationships in law. Instead, they dragged Chantelle and Vickie through the courts. It’s brilliant what Chantelle and Vickie have achieved, but it’s also demeaning to have to compel your Government to recognise your love.”
Paul Twocock, executive director of campaigns and strategy at Stonewall said: ‘We’re really pleased same-sex couples in the Cayman Islands will now be able to have their relationships legally recognised. This follows a legal case, where this inequality was challenged by Chantelle Day and Vicky Bodden-Bush.
‘This news is a landmark moment and will mean a lot to many same-sex couples in the Cayman Islands and give hope to those in the few other British Overseas Territories that do not yet recognise same-se relationships. It’s a crucial milestone on the road to LGBT equality for same-sex couples to have their love and relationship recognised and held on the same footing as everyone else.’