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The legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands has been reversed

Lily Wakefield November 8, 2019
Cayman Islands same-sex marriage

The ruling on same-sex marriage was appealed by the Cayman Islands government.

The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has sided with the government and reversed the legalisation of same-sex marriage which happened just over six months ago.

Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush applied for the right to be married in the Cayman Islands, a British territory, but had their application rejected because they are a same-sex couple.

They then crowdfunded to fight the decision and, on March 29, the chief justice accepted their arguments, modifying the marriage law with immediate effect to allow same-sex marriage.

Photo of couple Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush who are fighting for the right to get married in the Cayman Islands.
Same-sex couple Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush who filed the lawsuit that originally led to same-sex marriage being legalised in the Cayman Islands. (Twitter)

Five months after the legalisation of equal marriage, however, the government launched an appeal against Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s ruling.

The appeal was based on the fact that the Cayman Islands constitution does not explicitly mention same-sex unions and Premier of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, said that the territory’s bill of rights “deliberately” uses the words “man” and “woman” to define marriage.

The Court of Appeal ruled that although same-sex marriage will be re-criminalised, the territory should immediately offer unions which have a “legal status equivalent to marriage”.

It is unclear how or if this will be implemented, and according to the Cayman News Service McLaughlin said in a vague statement: “The government will carefully consider the full judgment to determine how best to proceed.”

In a statement made in April, when McLaughlin was planning the appeal against marriage equality, he said: “I and my entire government have great respect for the chief justice and indeed the independence of the judiciary.

“But even the best judges get it wrong from time to time. Hard cases make bad law. None of us who are human are infallible.”

He added: “As premier I will state what I have said many times before – I have no doubt that the feelings of the majority of Caymanians are that marriage should retain its traditional and religious definition and meaning, the union of one man and one woman.”

 

More: banning gay marriage, cayman islands, gay marriage, lesbian couple, marriage equality, same sex marriage

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