Legal issues re same sex unions unchanged, says HRC

| 27/06/2016 | 15 Comments
Cayman News Service

European Court of Human Rights, Strasbourg, France

(CNS): The recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in Chapin and Charpentier v France case has changed nothing when it comes to countries needing to recognise lawful same-sex unions, the Cayman Islands Human Rights Committee has stated. Despite recent comments in the Legislative Assembly, especially by Anthony Eden who suggested the court’s decision was a “great moral victory”, the reality is that the ruling has not changed the law and states are still required by law to make provision for same-sex couples to have their relationships legally recognised.

“Any suggestion that Cayman’s current legal framework is sufficient to survive a legal challenge in the Court on same-sex unions is wrong as a matter of law,” the HRC warned in its latest release on the subject.

In its statement, the commission said there had been a number of recent comments which were misinformed in relation to the ruling by the ECHR and a perception that the Chapin case had altered the Court’s position on same-sex unions.

“It has not,” the HRC stated, adding that it was unsure whether commenters had read the judgment, which is only available in French.

“As ever, when interpreting legal rulings it is important to read the materials issued by the Court and not merely rely on press reports; not all reporting is unbiased and not all journalists commenting on legal matters are legally qualified,” the commission said.

Although the Cayman Islands government has no plans to introduce same-sex marriage and the latest ECHR ruling confirms that governments are not forced to do so, they are still obligated to recognise same-sex couples that are legally married elsewhere.

As a result, at the end of last year the premier stated that he was examining the immigration law to make amendments that would recognise the legality of couples in same-sex unions coming to Cayman and having their spouses as dependents. This led to MLA Anthony Eden quitting the PPM and moving to the opposition bench, which has been united on the subject of denying rights to members of the LGBT community and preventing any legislative changes to accommodate same-sex unions.

This all comes following an anticipated legal challenge from Dr Leo Raznovich, a former law school professor who, when his contract was not renewed, applied to be a dependent on his husband’s permit. When the application was made by Maples and Calder, as Raznovich’s husband is a lawyer with the offshore firm, it was refused by the Business Staffing Plan Board. The couple have appealed the decision and are awaiting the ruling of the Immigration Appeals Tribunal.

Last week, as Eden told the Legislative Assembly that his prayers had been answered by the Chapin case, the premier said government expected a decision shortly because the appeal had been heard.

MLAs pressed the premier and the attorney general to do whatever it takes to stop the recognition of the couple’s marriage. However, if the government fights the anticipated legal challenge or challenges a decision by the IAT to grant the couples request, it could face a very costly battle that it is almost certain to lose in the end.

Although Britain voted to leave the European on Thursday, the UK and the Cayman Islands remain bound by the European Court of Human Rights.

The European Convention on Human Rights is a Council of Europe treaty and so the UK’s withdrawal from the EU does not automatically affect its status as a signatory to the convention on Human Rights, which is distinct from the EU treaties.

     ECHR press release: Judgment Chapin and Charpentier v. France

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Category: Europe, Local News, World News

Comments (15)

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  1. Greg Rivers says:

    A husband is the male counterpart to a marriage between a man and a woman not two males. The marriage certificate between two males or females maybe a valid document in the country where it legal to marry but when people want to push that ahead of the rights of the people in a country of which they were not born something is wrong as here. But we see that some people only try to destroy everywhere they have run to for better life from where they have come trying to tell us we are going to get our rights. Not today the rights of the people in this country meaning ancestral cayman the rest or go back to where one came from. Not until I get mine you will get yours. Not above me but after or go back to where one came from.
    Thsnk you if you brexit it fexit.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Same-sex marriage legislation came into force in France in May 2013. Couples of the same-sex have therefore been able to marry in France since that date. A point that seems to be missed in most press coverage regarding the recent Chapin case.

    • SSM345 says:

      When those using this case to champion their views also use a 3000yr old book as their concrete evidence for references is it any wonder?

      • Fix you says:

        Are you talking about the Living, resurrected Word of God? Perhaps you don’t know Him? A heart without God is a selfish, lonely place. Join us.

  3. Aswan says:

    I just want to bring my 9 wives. This is my way of life and I have rights too.

  4. Rod Barnett says:

    It goes without saying that the intrepretation that Cayman will do itself no good by not adhering to the European Court of Human Rights. A lengthy court battle that is overwhelmingly understood to be costly and sure to favor the plaintiffs is something the country cannot afford when there are so many other areas where government can use public resources.

    As I have commented numerous times, recognition of same sex marriage takes nothing away from those in other legal marriages and recognition should be implemented in full support by the government and its Immigration Department.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Legalize marijuana first, we’ve been waiting in line a long time now

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