ECHR ruling paves way for gay marriage case

| 11/07/2016 | 73 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dr Leonardo Raznovich

(CNS): A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights will have significant implications for a local case relating to a same-sex couple. The ECHR found that a refusal to grant a residence permit to a gay couple in Italy on family grounds was “unjustified discrimination”. Former law school professor Dr Leo Raznovich and his husband, an attorney with a major offshore law firm, are awaiting the outcome of their appeal over the Business Staffing Plan Board’s refusal to allow Raznovich to be a dependent on his husband’s work permit. This latest decision from Europe indicates that Cayman will need to create a legal mechanism to recognise same-sex partnerships, whether it likes it or not.

The Immigration Appeals Tribunal (IAT) is expected to deliver its decision on the Raznovich case very soon.

However, last month lawmakers urged the government to do and spend whatever it took to prevent recognition of gay unions in the Cayman Islands under any circumstances if the tribunal finds in the couple’s favour. If the tribunal finds against the couple, Raznovich has made it clear that he and his spouse will seek a judicial review, meaning that government may be heading to court on this regardless of the outcome.

But the latest case from the ECHR  (Taddeucci & McCall v. Italy) means that the local courts will find it very difficult not to find in Raznovich and his husband’s favour, since it is now certain that an appeal to the ECHR would succeed.

Last year the premier indicated that his government was examining the immigration law and regulations to find a way to allow same-sex couples who are legally married in other jurisdictions the right to have their spouses as dependents. But it has received considerable opposition from the religious community and from local legislative members afraid that supporting such a move would be the end of their political careers.

Raznovich has consistently argued that because he and his husband are lawfully married in both of their native countries of Argentina and Britain, Cayman law already requires that their marriage is recognised, and claims the application to have him named on his husband’s permit should be considered in exactly the same way that a heterosexual couple’s would be. Raznovich has said that his case is one of discrimination under the law and is not about introducing gay marriage in Cayman.

Nevertheless, this latest ruling from Europe goes much further. Aside from highlighting that the Cayman Islands must now recognise lawful gay marriages, it makes it clear that Cayman will also need to find a way of acknowledging non-married straight couples as well.

Raznovich said this case also found that there was a need for cohabiting couples of the opposite sex who are not married but who still constitute a family to also have their partners as dependents.

The court ruled clearly that the right to a permit for a family member cannot be restricted to different-sex spouses and denied to cohabiting, unmarried and unregistered, same-sex couples, particularly in jurisdictions where no form of legal recognition exists for gay couples, as is the case in Cayman

“All 47 Council of Europe countries, including the Cayman Islands, must now ensure that they provide some means for binational same-sex couples to qualify for a residence permit. This could be by allowing them to marry or register their partnership, or simply by recognising their cohabitation for the purpose of a residence permit,” Raznovich told CNS.

In this case, Taddeucci and McCall alleged that the refusal by the Italian authorities to grant McCall a residence permit on family grounds amounted to discrimination based on their sexual orientation.

Relying on Article 8 of the Convention of Human Rights, they complained about the absence in Italy of specific statutory provisions in favour of the recognition and protection of unions between same-sex partners. The court found that the Italian government had breached the applicants’ right not to be subjected to discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Importantly for Cayman, the ruling in the case indicates that the court firmly rejected “the argument that States can legitimately invoke the concept of the ‘traditional family’ as a basis for denying a request for a residence permit made by a foreign national who is in a relationship with a citizen of the same sex”.

Given the ruling, Raznovich pointed out that Cayman could no longer avoid the issue of introducing some way of recognising lawful gay marriages of same-sex couples who come to Cayman from overseas. But he acknowledges that Teddeucci will not help local members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community who would like to register their relationship in the Cayman Islands.

“The irony of this legal development is that same-sex couples, both Caymanians and expats, have as a consequence more options to settle in jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands than heterosexual couples,” Raznovich said. “We do not even have to be married or in a civil partnership, but simply living together until the government passes legislation that allows same-sex couple to register under local laws.”

Although Premier Alden McLaughlin had indicated his willingness to address the law on the dependency issue, he has made no comment about the potential changes in recent months and has emphasised that it is not his government’s intention to introduce gay marriage or even same-sex unions.

Nevertheless, he has on several occasions over the last few weeks in the LA and on public radio warned his political colleagues to stop the discrimination and called for more tolerance.

Judgment Taddeucci and McCall v. Italy – refusal to grant residence permit to gay couple on family grounds

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Category: Europe, Laws, Politics, World News

Comments (73)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Your all wrong. Its about sex. Its about someone wanting to have sex and then love with a same sex partner. The old guys can’t handle this stuff being in the public arena. Its been the same for thousands of years.

  2. Biblical Scholar says:

    I don’t believe same-sex couples are asking for any pastor to be required to perform a same-sex marriage ceremony. What they are asking for is equal recognition of their unions *under the law*.

    You make the point that you and some of your family members experienced much difficulty in finding an official to marry them *in the traditional church setting*. Nevertheless, each of you could have easily been married *under Caymanian law* by seeking out a civil marriage officer. By doing so, you would have been afforded all of the legal protections that marriage provides (right to inherit, joint insurance status, etc.) under the law, regardless of whether or not your church recognized that marriage.

    What same-sex couples seek is the ability to have their unions recognized under the law in the same way that opposite-sex couples. That right is currently denied to them. That is the discrimination they face (which you and your family members do not) and that same-sex couples seek to rectify.

    A legal marriage is different than a religious marriage. The legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States, for example, has not resulted in a single pastor being forced to perform a same-sex marriage. While I, for one, would choose not to be married in any church that didn’t share my beliefs, the legalization or recognition of same-sex marriage does not preclude churches from deciding what is and is not recognized as a marriage *within their faith*.

    You can keep your church customs and traditions without subjecting any group of citizens to unjust discrimination.

    • Biblical Scholar says:

      @Anonymous 12/07/2016 at 5:03 am

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just recognition of civil unions, but recognition of normal common law relationships. Far too many Work Permit couples have been compelled by Immigration to marry for all the wrong reasons in Cayman.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Because the Cayman Islands government signed you up to them.

    Did that really need explaining?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I don’t quite understand why you insist on comparing everything in Cayman to the UK as some kind of race to the bottom.

    You have made one or two comments this year when you have let your guard down with your exasperation with the Cayman Islands government and made some valid points, which makes me think you are not the troll you set out to be, but then soon enough you revert to type.

    Anyway just for information the UK allows for churches to opt out of marrying homosexuals whilst remaining within the framework of the ECHR.

  5. Anonymous says:

    All this bigotry about homosexuals stems from religion. Do way with religion if we want a better standard of living. Secularism is what we need.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The gay couple and any other gays who feel discriminated against by the way we do things in Cayman need to firstly, get over themselves and secondly, take a damn number.

    What do I mean by that?

    I, as a born and raised Caymanian, have family members who were unable to have their children christened in their traditional church because they were born out of wedlock.
    I also have family members that experienced much difficulty in finding an official to marry them in the traditional church setting because they were already living together and or had children out of wedlock.

    For heaven’s sake, many Caymanians have no chance of being married in most churches unless they demonstrate some level of commitment to the organisation and or basis of faith in that respect.

    Cayman’s resistance to gay marriage is NOT about being ANTI-GAY as a target mission or by way of hatred for gays.
    It is simply another aspect of our traditional ways of doing things and cultural attempts to uphold certain standards.

    (For example, I decided long ago that I would most likely not be married by my traditional church pastor because I understood there is a significant divide between what “married before God” means to he and I respectively. Essentially it would have been a farce and I respect him too much to ever do such a thing.
    Furthermore, despite what anyone on CNS may think right now, he has more integrity in his pinkie finger than the vast majority of us engaging in self-serving debates all day long posses in our entire beings – so don’t even go there.)

    So, to the members of the expatriate gay community (I subcategorise that way for our local gay community are fully aware of all of the above, maybe not literally but definitely culturally), I am going to need you to see beyond your own self-obsessed noses and understand the wider issues in this respect.
    (Are you also going to fight for the human rights of “shacked up” straight people who are “discriminated against” when it comes to marriage in the Cayman Islands? Will you protest to the EU on behalf of the illegitimate children who were unable to be christened in the typical Caymanian church as well?)

    I am a straight, native, Caymanian male, and rest assured, due to my (past) lifestyle I experienced much difficulty when it came to getting married in the Cayman Islands.
    However, it is what it is. This is my home and I love its quirky ways. If anyone doesn’t they have the option to walk / fly away.

    – Whodatis

    *The theme of this conflict leads to the strong possibility of my traditional pastor being forced to marry two men or women of the same sex. I am sorry, but I will NEVER support such a thing because I know the severe emotional and spiritual turmoil it would bring upon that now elderly and beautiful soul of a man. If we are speaking in terms of “human rights” there is no doubt that his would be severely infringed by any such ruling.

    Furthermore, who would want to do such a thing? If I as a fellow Caymanian can have the respect to not expect or request him to marry me and my “shacked up” baby-mudda as I understand he is faithfully opposed to the idea why can’t others also respect this reality?

    That being said, I understand we are living in a time where any and every thing goes, however there will not be a railroading of all customs and traditions in the Cayman Islands in order to satisfy everyone else.

    For eff’s sake, the UK just rode on a wave of its undeniable xenophobia and racism (cut the crap folks, that was the deciding factor – not in for the bullshit-laced intellectually dishonest debate today) and voted to exit the European Union. Surely the Cayman Islands can be allowed to maintain some semblance of its standards and ideals as well.

    Conclusion; some countries are racist and some countries don’t fully support gay marriage.
    Seems fair.

    • Banana Boy says:

      Unfortunately this is where the confusion begins. NO ONE is asking that churches recognize same sex marriage. Churches are completely entitled to their own definition of marriage and if that means that they believe that their religious sacrament is only between a man and a woman or any other rules that they want to apply than that is their right to do so. It is for the members of that church to decide what the various rules of their church are – I may not agree with them but I do believe it is their right to make up those rules.

      The issue is with the law not recognizing same sex marriage i.e. the right for a same sex couples to enter into an agreement with the same rights and obligations under the law as a traditional “marriage” i.e. rights of inheritance, right to a private family life and protections of any children of the marriage.

    • Biblical Scholar says:

      You also suggest that this is an ex-pat issue, not a local one. That is simply not the case.

      Your gay and lesbian Caymanian brothers and sisters deserve to have as much protection under the law as you do. Just because some of them may have less of an ability to voice their frustrations than an ex-pat — perhaps because they have been raised in a culture that has shown them hatred time and again, or because they lack the financial resources to make different choices like relocating to another country where their basic humanity is respected — does not mean that they do not want the same things.

      The identity of the person that asks for equality does not determine whether or not the inequality exists.

  7. Greg Rivers says:

    Everything was created or male or female .ie telephone cord .electrical outlet and cord to match . Birds chicken bees donkeys and everything else is so my why are we to accept thatt males or ffemales we mu acce that. ReMember alot of people that ran in the sixties and seventies ran to cayman so being that destroyed where they came from so this is place left so finish it off as you may not like my next post.

  8. Yo Mama says:

    I want to love and accept gays. Deep down I’m a decent person. But I can’t be a modern moral human because an invisible, silent, and probably non-existent being doesn’t want me to. How do I know this? I know it because a science-illiterate man with a terrible haircut and an expensive car tells me what god desires every Sunday when I sit in church. Sorry, but I have to be mean and unfair to my fellow humans. Just no other choice because after I die I want to go to a place that doesn’t exist called heaven. I’m also scared of ending up in hell, another place that isn’t real. Do you understand me better now? Please be fair and tolerate my position, okay?

    • Robert says:

      Being born in Ireland I remember my Mom and other Relatives saying they where going out for a fag ( Smoking ) is that still allowed ? as I think about it now , it is quite funny , hey give us a fag will ya mate . This probably wont even be posted , but that’s Gods truth , they did say that.

  9. Anonymous says:

    You were warned Cayman. Change your Stone Age ways or it will cost you financially and do terminal harm to your already tarnished reputation. Rid yourself of the dinosaur MLA’s who seem intent on holding you back and ignore the hypocracy of the bible bashers who claim their bigotry and ignorance is in gods name.

    • Anonymous says:

      How dare you pontificate and demand we change our ‘stone age ways’ as you put it. Our ways are exactly that, our ways! You don’t have to live here in the stone age with us.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately they are not your ways, they are the ways of the European Court of Human Rights!

        • Anonymous says:

          And why do we even have to follow what they say?

          • Biblical Scholar says:

            Because you agreed to it and incorporated it into your own Constitution. Article 9 of the Bill of Rights in the Caymanian Constitution mirrors the protections provided by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

            • Anonymous says:

              And the ECHR is of higher normativity than the Constitution which is merely secondary UK legislation.

          • Anonymous says:

            Because (I can only assume) you are a law abiding citizen!

  10. Anonymous says:

    It looks to me like the person promoting live and let live is the one with “light in their soul”

    • Anonymous says:

      Take that Anthony Eden and to the CI Government!!! Really???? I am glad someone stood up to your stupid ways of thinking. So what if two men marry, so what if two women marry? You think it is better when a man and a woman marry and the man beats her or cheats on her? Thats ok???? You can turn a blind eye to that but you can’t to gay marriages??? Backward ass people!

  11. Anonymous says:

    We need proof that you and your dependent is really gay & not just scheming on benefits.

    Reminds me of a movie…

  12. Anonymous says:

    Unless you’re the chief immigration officer no one is forcing you change the way you think.

    The laws the Cayman Islands government signed up to are being applied in the way they are intended so people who you have most likely never to have met and possibly will ever meet can live their life in a way that doesn’t affect you at all.

    I would further suggest if you have been threatened with the guillotine for the way you think you should probably report it to RCIPS.

    • Anonymous says:

      Haha, that is funny. You have just validated my statement. Who do you think will do the corralling?
      It may not be today, but we are not far away.
      Some people resonate on dark frequencies and others resonate with light.
      Where do you resonate? Would you let the Light of Truth search your heart?
      Where would you stand?
      We are not human beings having the odd spiritual experience, we are eternal spiritual beings having a human experience.

      Do you think that I just want to disagree with you for the sake of it? I have many things to do, but if I can take a little time out of my day to educate you because I am genuinely concerned about the destiny of your soul, then it is time well spent.

      Friend, I wish you well. See you in the Light.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Maybe it is time for the CI to hold a referendum on the “Gay Issue”. Then and only then, will this government or any other government to come have the empirical ammunition to fight for what the CI people wants to happen regarding this sensitive issue.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am afraid a referendum will be meaningless unless the Cayman changes its constitution and provides for explicit discrimination of LGBT people, which will require the consent of the UK, good luck with it! By the way, FYI the UK could never grant its consent for such a change as that would mean the UK will be in breach of its own international obligations. So I suggest that rather than wasting money in a meaningless referendum, you spend it in things that matter to you such a education, policing or health …

    • Anonymous says:

      You might be too young to remember, but the UK also told us that we had to set the slaves free. Luckily we now have something called “permits” that allows us to skirt around that issue quite nicely.

      When you call the referendum maybe we could also decide on which books should be in the Bible. Just Leviticus is sufficient for some people.

      Leviticus 19:20-22New American Standard Bible (NASB)

      20 Now if a man lies carnally with a woman who is a slave acquired for another man, but who has in no way been redeemed nor given her freedom, there shall be punishment; they shall not, however, be put to death, because she was not free.

      21 He shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord to the doorway of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering.

      22 The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are a lot of stupid things in the Bible though. Like: Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. Leviticus 19:19. Hope you don’t have cotton/polyester blend clothes in your closet sir or you just bagged yourself a one way trip to hell!

        • Anonymous says:

          I have a suit made of leather and chain. Does this count?

          • Anonymous says:

            Come round to my place and I’ll let you know after an inspection. I have the hi energy disco mix pumping already.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s already the law, and has been for some time.

    • Anonymous says:

      There will be no referendum. My dream was very vivid and clear. It will be announced, like a surprise on a gloomy day.

  14. Anonymous says:

    EU will not matter to Cayman soon. #Brexit.

    • Anonymous says:

      ECHR is not an EU institution and will still be relevant for the UK and CI after Bexit. #getitrightaboutbrexit

    • Anonymous says:

      Yet another uneducated myth in regard to Brexit.
      Really, and we were called uneducated for voting for it.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think some of the uneducated voted FOR Brexit because they linked the EU to the ECHR. But most of them tried weighing up the pros and cons and voted Leave because they were racists. For every 10% differential in the voting area in having a degree there was a 11.5% swing to Remain. A shocking statistic that proves why the reductive nature of referenda made the such a vote unsuitable for this issue.

  15. Knot S Smart says:

    What would Anthony Comstock say…

  16. Unison says:

    Imagine we give dependent grants to every tom, dick, and harry! The island will be swamp with people who say they are not working but in house being a dependent. Imagine folk start saying they are gay so they can let a buddy or friend to stay ob the island. Imagine this dependency prevelege is given to as well unmarried couples who say they are in love, etc…

    I can clearly see how are small country will have serious problems if every kind of folk could have such a prevelege. Who is to say they are here to be a dependents? :/

    • Rp says:

      So long as there is sufficient income for main holder to support a dependent and they can prove it who cares if a dependent is a child, wife or husband (gay or straight) sister, mother or some common law partner.

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously they need proof of the marriage by way of a certificate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why/how is doubling a household’s local consumption a bad thing if they are paying their way? Isn’t that the kind of economic stimulus we should want?!?

  17. Anonymous says:

    England has voted to leave the EU! Thank God, this ruling will be meaningless in two to three years.

    • Anonymous says:

      EHCR is not a EU institution and UK and CI will still have to comply post Brexit!

    • Anonymous says:

      The UK makes up England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    • Anonymous says:

      Stupid is as stupid does!
      Try keeping up with the facts, Brexit makes no difference to the ECHR dumbass.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey dodo, I know you’ve probably been influenced by the self entitled elite who are now whining about our democratic decision, but remember this.
      There are 4 countries that make up the UK and 3 that make up Great Britain.
      Although England and Wales overwhelmingly voted to leave the EU, with some areas voting for Brexit in numbers far higher than the national gross percentage, Scotland and NI also saw a very large number vote for Brexit, despite being eventually outnumbered by the Remainers.

      As for London, well nobody else really cares what they think as they are the ones who have led us down the road of political correctness, self entitled greed, inept financial services and the ‘we know best’ attitude of the political chattering classes. Well clearly they didn’t, because the anger at their arrogant, centralised and undemocratic federalism has bitten them in their self serving butts. If they’d actually taken notice over the last 40 years they would have seen a deep seated resentment growing at the direction in which our country was heading, and all without a democratic mandate.

      However, whilst the whiners indulge in their own doom laden prophesies, the real patriots from both sides of the argument are getting on with making our democratically reached decision work for the country, not just the few.

      As for your uneducated reference to the ECHR, tough luck buddy, it makes no difference at all.

  18. 345 says:

    Please, please, please do not waste tax payer money taking this to Court. No matter what your “moral” beliefs are, the reality is, that this has been decided.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Hopefully Brexit will mean the removal of the EU liberal contamination over this country.

    • Anonymous says:

      lol! Not at all! ECHR still applies and the just elected PM in the UK has announced that she has ditched her stupid idea of denouncing the ECHR! Liberal contamination is and will remain chasing the bigots for the foreseeable future!

  20. Leviticus 18:22 says:

    Anthony Eden for Premier!

  21. Anonymous says:

    You can pass all the laws you want. You cannot force me to think your way.
    At the end of the day, we will all be judged on what is right.
    Right is not necessarily the opinion of a vociferous horde of bullies.
    Right is buried in the heart of everyone.
    It is called conscience. We choose to follow it or override it.

    If many of us choose not to think your way, what will you do? Send us to the guillotine?
    Crucify us?
    It would not be the first time a bunch of crazy, hate-filled, religious zealots sent someone to their death for speaking the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Under the law you are entitled to think whatever you want, for instance that the earth is at the centre of the universe, but you have NO rights to impose your thoughts upon your fellow citizens.

  22. SSM345 says:

    Spoke to soon Anthony?

  23. Anonymous says:

    What does government have to do with what hole you decide to have sex in? we all are doing oral sex…so it comes down to the hole that offends.

    • Anonymous says:

      Speak for yourself!

      I only use holes as they were intended to be used and have had no complaints to date.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is not about sex, this is about love.

      • Anonymous says:

        Its about sex. Its the part of their love that offends the dinosaurs still living amongst us. I love my male and female friends but I don’t want to have sex with the males. Just some of the females….shhh! but I could live and coexist with all them under one roof.

      • Anonymous says:

        It is about the rule of law nothing else!

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