Appeal court grants stay in gay marriage case

| 10/04/2019 | 221 Comments
Cayman News Service, rape

Law Courts Building, Grand Cayman

(CNS): Sir John Goldring said that it was “not without hesitation” that the Court of Appeal granted government a stay on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands on Wednesday, blocking the impending first gay wedding ever be held in the country. The president of the appeal court said that they could not say there was no argument to be made against Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s “full and fair consideration” of the case.

The court accepted that there would be prejudice to the women involved but focused on the government’s position that dozens of pieces of legislation would have to be re-drafted to meet the ruling by the chief justice, causing “legal uncertainty” until the appeal is settled.

The president said that the court did not accept that in order to grant a stay the government had to demonstrate a strong likelihood of success, merely that there is something to argue. The appeal judges also seemed to give considerable weight to an affidavit filed by a government official that numerous pieces of legislation would now need to be amended.

The court said that if the couple married now before the issue surrounding the Marriage Law was settled, it could result in anomalies regarding any same-sex couple’s legal position in relation to the laws that would now need to be amended. However, the court observed that legislators seemed to have made no provision at all for the possibility that they would lose at trial.

By granting a stay, the appeal court has given hope to government and fuelled the justification for the use of public funds for the case, despite the wide legal opinion in Cayman that the appeal is doomed to failure. But the court also refused to consider the government’s application for costs, deferring that until after the appeal itself is heard. The court confirmed that it would hear the actual appeal at its next sitting in Cayman, which is scheduled for 19 August to 6 September.

While there was considerable disappointment for Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden, who were due to marry Wednesday evening, when the court rose a small number of people in the gallery began loudly praising God and had to be silenced by the court marshall.

Dr Leo Raznovich, a leading activist for the LGBT community, said he felt that the appeal court’s decision to deliver the ruling granting the stay a full day after arguments were made was “cruel” and questioned whether the recent political backlash had played in part in granting it, given that the government’s grounds for appeal, which the court appeared to decide was less relevant than the issue of the potential legislative uncertainty.

Nevertheless, the decision is merely a stay and has no bearing on whether or not the actual appeal will be successful.

Education Minister Juliana O’Connor Connolly, who had urged the community to disrupt the couple’s wedding if it went ahead, was also in attendance at the court for the decision, alongside Savannah MLA Anthony Eden, whose recent contribution to the debate on same-sex marriage demonstrated that his long-standing vitriolic opposition to homosexuality has not abated in any way.

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Comments (221)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I say let them get married. They deserve to be just as miserable as heterosexual married couples.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If they succeed, I thinks it’s only fair to legalize gambling, prostitution, paintball and pellet guns etc.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Cayman Islands seriously needs the kind of leadership that will lead their people into the future. What they have right now is the kind that will keep them in the old third world past. There must be a lot of first world educated young Caymanians out there. Please do your country a great honor by stepping up in the next elections.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Gay marriage will be legal in August but the hurricane season starts before that . Children of God pray and look up.

    • Anonymous says:

      I never understood why people assume the wrath of god will kill the believers as well as the blasphemous. Just doesn’t seem fair.

    • Anonymous says:

      A rise in cheese sales also saw a rise in divorce rates at the same time.

      Since you think correlation implies causation, we should ban cheese too to protect marriages.

    • Anonymous says:

      So we should pray to God to stop the hurricanes which God created…sounds legit

  5. Anonymous says:

    So when this is fought all the way to the privy council, who will most assuredly find in the girls favour because govt has provided no other avenue in place of marriage, despite nuff time to do so… the haters will have unwittingly caused a landmark ruling that may result in permitting gay marriage in other holdout countries in the commonwealth, not just their own?

    Poetic. I can see the headlines now:
    “Caymans Cause Rainbow Cascade”


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