Gay marriage case on road to Privy Council

| 22/01/2020 | 91 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chantelle Day, Edward Fitzgerald QC, Vickie Bodden and Day’s mother, Merta Day

(CNS): Lawyers acting for Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden, a same-sex couple who have been battling in the courts for the right to marry or at least engage in a lawful civil union, have filed an application to take the fight to the Privy Council in the UK. Attorney Ben Tonner confirmed Wednesday that the documents had been filed with the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal, which is the body that grants final leave to appeal to the highest court for British Overseas Territories and some Commonwealth countries .

Given that the local appeal court usually grants such leave, Tonner said,
“Once it does so, we will be filing an appeal in the Judicial Committee of The Privy Council (JCPC).”

Day and Bodden began their battle to marry several years ago. It began outside the courts when they wrote to government urging the creation in Cayman of some form of civil union law that would allow same-sex couples equality to the rights afforded by marriage, if not marriage itself.

However, despite a clear ruling from the European Court of Human Rights more than four years ago that this jurisdiction should enact such legislation, the government has failed to do so.

As a result, after being refused a marriage licence, the couple turned to the courts for help. In a landmark ruling, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found in their favour and legalised same sex marriage by making minor amendments from the bench to the Marriage Law, after finding that government had made no effort to address the clear violation of the couple’s human rights on several grounds

This outraged government, members of the Legislative Assembly and some conservative elements of the community, in particular several church leaders and their congregations. Therefore, government filed for a stay of CJ Smellie’s decision to allow for an appeal.

While the appeal court found that the government was not obligated to offer marriage and that it had clearly tried to avoid that eventuality in both the constitution and the law, it overturned the chief justice’s ruling. However, the court made it clear that government must offer some form of civil partnership akin to marriage to same sex couples immediately.

But although government has claimed that legislation to meet the appeal court’s direction is being drafted, the direction that it be implemented “expeditiously” has not been met. There is no sign that the draft bill will appear before the parliament in the forthcoming session at the end of this month. So, after almost three months since the appeal court made that ruling, the law is unlikely to appear before legislators for several more months, if at all.

With government still dragging its heels on a same-sex union law, Day and Bodden are continuing their fight for the ultimate equality of marriage and will be calling on the UK’s Privy Council to uphold the chief justice’s ruling. Tonner is expected to argue that the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal should have interpreted the local Constitution as protecting and promoting the rights and freedoms of the people, as the chief justice had, instead of taking the opposite position.

Gay marriage is now legal all across the UK, and the British government has continued to encourage its territories to also implement marriage equality. The Privy Council was expected to hear an appeal from the government of Bermuda after years of wrangling in their courts over the same issue, though in that case the appeal court there had upheld the change to the marriage law by the lower courts.

However, according to news coming from Bermuda just this week, the case may not make it before the JCPC after the government lawyers there missed a critical deadline for re-submissions.

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Category: Laws, Local News, Politics

Comments (91)

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  1. Paul says:

    Several UK Territories still have no SSM or even civil partnerships yet. Please don’t just pick on Bermuda and Cayman!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Cayman get ready for same sex marriage, The CIG did nothing and even when they had a chance to do civil unions they sat silent. Now when it is mandated by The UK remember it was Alden slackness that brought it. The current CIG is truly clueless.

    • Anonymous says:

      The government seems to prefer to spend money over just doing the right thing. A civil union bill could have been agreed moons ago. But I guess they have to pander to the large Christian electorate.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Some of these homophobes really need to find themselves a purpose. Spending all day giving thumbs down must be really tiring. It’s actually funny. They try so hard to achieve nothing. Equality is coming.

  4. Mike Henry says:

    A lone voice from Australia (which legalised same-sex-marriage in December 2017): I wish you well in your endevours to bring equality in this sphere of Cayman life and applaud all those who see justice in what is right – equality for everyone.

  5. stevewayles says:

    We wish these women the very best. Equal Rights are not ‘special rights’. My husband and I Cruise frequently, but made he decision that we won’t be visiting the Caymans until our same-gender marriage would be considered legal had it been performed there. It’s our decision that we won’t be visiting until our glbt brothers and sisters who are your fellow citizens have the right to marry the persons they love. We are also encouraging our US, Canadian and European glbt and straight friends to avoid cruises which include stops at the Caymans until equal marriage rights there are a legal reality. It’s time.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s your decision not to come here as it is mine not to recognize your same sex marriage.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your comment makes no sense when one of these ladies is Caymanian and has every right to equality as you do. end of story.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Yo “Philip Gumbs”, It’s impressive that you conduct online research about polyamory as part of your crusade against gays in love. I bet your web browser search history is fascinating.

    But why are you so concerned about who other adults love and marry? Many men who freak out about gays do so because they are dealing with homosexual urges that conflict with their primitive politics or religious beliefs. Not saying this is necessarily the case with you but maybe a little soul searching is in order.

    Seriously, check yourself. Maybe the closet is becoming a little too cramped and you’re resentful because you’re missing out on true happiness for yourself. Or, then again, maybe you are just hateful and don’t understand the concept of fairness for all. Regardless, I and I wish you peace, brother. But I do hope you will ask yourself why this issue bugs you so much.


  7. Anonymous says:

    What many don’t seem to (or want to) realize is that the humane treatment they expect are already legal obligations per ECHR, which we are subject to. These Inalienable Rights are not a matter of political leaning, nor are they swayed by sentimentality, theology, or antiquated opinion. We have to provide them AND defend them. I object to more millions of public cash being wasted on another ego-driven, futile and losing case battle, just to pretend that there was ever going to be any other outcome. Those are millions that won’t be going into education, drug rehab, mental health, roads, parks, and countless other core priorities – and that’s before these ladies sue, which they probably should. It’s a total waste of time and money just to coddle the hyper-gullible and naive far right vote.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Well the UK’s gonna legalize it anyway because we’re too backwards and dumb to provide basic human rights to our citizens for us to do it ourselves, so all you church people better save your breathes, because your ‘concerns’ might resonate with CIG but the UK Government will laugh in your faces if you even think of going to them.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Praise God!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    I have never been prouder to be Caymanian in all of my life because of Chantelle. Your courage and love for justice, equality and Vicky will be remembered forever. Make your mark Sister. Love always wins.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The Government by its stubborn refusal to act in a timely manner for fear of upsetting the bible lobby may be heading for another Astley McLaughlin type judgement from the Privy Council.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why are you all so pressed?? Like damn. THEY. JUST. WANT. TO. BE. MARRIED. CALM YOURSELVES. I swear if ya’ll had the same energy about crime or pollution, so much would get done!

      • Anonymous says:

        Or the education system. They could then edumacate themselves to see that the world won’t stop spinning because 2 people love each other.

    • Anonymous says:

      How does your gay marriage affect me? See above

  12. Anonymous says:

    “Eating Turtle meat has been our culture for years. Why these Caymanian Vegans want to change that? Why they just can’t move somewhere else and be vegan? If I let them be vegans here, then they’re forcing their way of life on me and I can’t eat meat anymore.”

    See how dumb the “just get married to the adult you love of the same sex elsewhere” argument sounds?

    • Anonymous says:

      Tons of downvotes with no refute. Obviously you hit a nerve with the truth.

    • Anonymous says:

      Everyone keep calm and do not feed the troll

    • Your Logic is Skewed says:

      Ehhhh … just have to ask, how is eating turtle meat the same as what 2 gay people want to do in bed and have the public accept it, or, else be prosecuted ???? :/

      • Anonymous says:

        What two gay people do in private is none of any other person’s business but the gay people involved. It is just that simple.Why is it bothering you or someone else? Why is it one your mind? You really have no say in someone else’s private affairs. You don’t have to accept it. You are simply in no position to tell others what they can do with THEIR lives.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t think he was talking about them sleeping together, that is legal in Cayman..He is talking about gay marriage..

          • Anonymous says:

            No he was talking about sex. “What they want to do in bed” is pretty specific. He’s just all riled imagining it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Being a meat eater or vegan is a significant lifestyle choice.

        Being straight or gay is a significant lifestyle choice.

        Both affect no one else except for the person making the choice.

        • Anonymous says:

          I beg to differ. Being gay or straight is NOT a lifestyle choice, whereas being a meat eater, vegan or even a Christian is a choice.

        • Anonymous says:

          Except that no one chooses to be straight or gay.

        • Anonymous says:

          Totally agree, except that being gay is NOT a choice.

        • Anonymous says:

          Being born straight or gay is not a lifestyle choice!

          • Anonymous says:

            I had to CHOOSE whether to accept&reveal my feelings or suppress them from my Christian family. Hence why I was such a homophobe in High School..

            I’m sorry that my wording implied the wrong message.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Third world island culture can not tolerate change. If you want to live in a modern world culture you will have to move or change the culture. Old dogs can not learn new tricks. Nothing will change here until there are new dogs and the old ones are put to retirement.

  14. Philip Gumbs says:

    To you three proud lgbtq supporters I ask this. When three people want to “marry” (like Alejandro Rodriguez, Manuel Bermudez and Victor Hugo Prada in Columbia – do note that polyamory can be any number, so imagine seven loving people wanting to “marry” each other), and half siblings want to marry (like they legally can and do in “tolerant” Sweden), will you also proudly defend and support them? If you do it shows how twisted your path is. If you don’t it shows how hypocritical your path is.

    • Anonymous says:

      Any idiot who thinks marriage is a good idea should be able to marry whoever or whatever they want.

    • Anonymous says:

      So what you’re saying is that we should ban adults from eating turtle meat else they’ll take it too far and become cannibals.


    • Anonymous says:

      First. It’s all about equality. Nobody is asking to marry more people than heterosexuals do. You are twisting the facts. It’s about same rights heterosexuals enjoy. No more but no less. Stop making up stuff. Second. It’s Colombia.

      • Just sayin says:

        It’s not about rights. It’s about privileges for a minority class of less than 5% in the Cayman Islands. And Philip has an excellent point: Once marriage between two people of the same sex is granted, and the laws have been stretched and amend to cator for these women’s rights and for the name of “love.” Seriously, what is stopping a brother from marrying his sister, a mother from marrying her son, a girl from marrying her father. What is stopping a woman from marrying two women, three women, four women, four men, et cetera…

        When you water down the meaning of traditional marriage (which is aligned to nature) and you place it on the same level with same-sex then you go into the problematic realm of child custody, and who are the parents, and et cetera…

        CNS: 1) Asking for equal rights is not asking for a privilege. It’s asking for the same rights. It’s not that complicated.
        2) Name one country or jurisdiction where same-sex marriage has led to legalising incest or polygamy. This is an ultra-conservative fever dream with no basis in reality.
        3) Child custody issues also exist following divorce and with children born outside marriage. Should these also be illegal? Or should we in all cases leave it to those involved and if necessary the courts to decide?

        • Anonymous says:

          My thumbs up is for CNS’s comments.

          • Anonymous says:

            Mine too to make that clear! And not the moronic original post. Can SOMEONE please tell me what Caymanians have against gay people? Why do you hate people so much? Caymankind?

      • Philip Gumbs says:

        Being as authoritative as you appear one would believe you are aware of polyamory. Try googling it. There have been cases filed in various countries. Polyamorists feel that the same arguments for gay “marriage” – “love is equal”, “consenting adults”, “human rights”, “human dignity”, “love wins” – will give them success in court.

        • Anonymous says:

          @ 7:41pm Well, I for one believe it’s unnatural for two women or two men to have sex with each other. I say unnatural as an operative word to something else as it is technically unnatural. Two women cannot produce life biologically and neither can two men. I’m not even deeply religious or pressed about what the bible says. It is just not normal to me and makes me uncomfortable. I’m sure many others feel the same way I do. I also do not want my sons exposed to this vision and this love is love idea, when seeing two men or two women as a couple. There, I explained why I am against it. I do not hate gays but I do not support or condone their lifestyle and I definitely do not believe their agenda should be pushed upon the people of these islands to accept or even tolerate.

          • Anonymous says:

            Passive aggressive homophobia. Noone pushes anything on anyone. You don’t have to have a gay wedding. But you can’t tell me I can’t just because you don’t agree with it. It simply is not your business. Marriage license in my safe really should not worry you or anyone else. It’s between me and my future husband. Period. Look around. You have LGBTQ people around you. Perhaps your family. You really think you can tell them what to do with their lives? And who they can live with and marry?

            • Anonymous says:

              How is it not being pushed when it’s been rejected for the most part and these women continue to “push” it? I don’t care who wants to have a gay wedding, I just won’t be recognizing your “marriage” and referring to your partner as your husband. I actually have gay friends, and I’ve never tried to instill my beliefs or preferences on them or tell them what to do. It’s just unnatural to me and I won’t support the lifestyle or acknowledge two men/two women as a married couple. This would apply to any family member or friend I have that may be gay. That’s it!

              • Anonymous says:

                You really don’t have to accept or acknowledge anything. It’s equally before the law we are talking about. Everything heterosexuals get married for. Not your opinion. Or anyone else’s. Exactly why heterosexual marriage exists and everything that comes with it is what it’s all about. You, like everyone else ,are entitled to an opinion. But it can’t stop people from equality. Regardless the fact you accept it or not. You really don’t need to recognize any marriage personally. It’s totally up to you. Just like I and you don’t have to be a Buddhist or vegetarian. That is all.

          • Anonymous says:

            Bravo! My applause. Your words pretty much sum up the sentiments of many sensible and intelligent Caymanians. Some many comments here, seem to PIN the reason for rejecting gay laws on Bible-religions. But I believe more than half (if not all) Caymanians judge from the order of nature and reason. And… what is very frustrating to me and annoying is to see comments here, mischaracterize all of Caymanians or the majority opposing gay laws, as religiously biased. Nothing can be further from the truth! The gay community close their eyes to the rationale of keeping in sinq with the order of nature (male and female reproduction), and its influences on society, families, and children. They close their eyes and press ahead, always placing “self” over the big picture of being in tune with the natural order. It seems like they are a new clan of humans outside evolutionary progress.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Go girls! All right-minded people are in your corner. Ignore the hate-mongers and bigots. They’ll soon be consigned to history. Let’s bring Cayman into the 21st century.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t CIG and Church leaders have the same energy for rapists and murderers? A lady was held at knifepoint and forced to perform sex acts on two men last week in BT, where’s the outrage for that??

    Worried about two people who love each other but will turn a blind eye to the rising crime rate, the failing education system, the growing landfill, etc!

    • Anonymous says:

      All my dislikes are from church people who hate to hear the truth. Go worship your priest and don’t force your beliefs on us, crazy ass people.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The human rights committee or the UK, has no rights to try to force Our Government to enact any form of legislation to substitute the Marriage Law which has been carefully enschrigned in Our Constitution, to satisfy the ungodly desires of a minority group and ignore the wishes of all God fearing people in these Islands!
    I trust that God will give all Our Legislators the fortitude to say NO to any compromise whatsover!!
    God will Honour You for such a stand and He is all that matters!
    Signed: Seth Thomas Bodden!!!
    An Endangered Species here now!

    • Anonymous says:

      Show me where God said it’s a sin to be a gay, show me how them being together affects your life in any way. You all will have energy over this but will stay silent when a priest is convicted of sexual assault, or someone is knocked off the road by a drunk driver etc.


      • Anonymous says:

        Here you go:

        Leviticus 20:13 (KJV) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

        • Anonymous says:

          It says the same of eating conch and turtle. You cannot pick and choose.

        • Anonymous says:

          The bible 🤣. The biggest load of fairy stories ever written. And a rubbish read to boot.

          • Anonymous says:

            I understand your frustration, but God has given each one of us moral compass to find our way back home.
            The best stuff is not even in the Bible.
            If you can understand evil and hate it, you can find God. God required us to come here to learn something that we need in the eternal dimension.
            If I told you that you actually agreed to come here you would not believe me.
            Think harder, seek truth, reach into light.
            Try the Gospel of Thomas to start with.
            Organized religion is designed to keep the masses captive.
            Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

            • smh says:

              Lol, you know, I believe you are talking to a hardline Atheists. You know, blindly believe something came from nothing, and we are here by accident ????

        • Anonymous says:

          You are wearing mixed fabrics right now.

        • Anonymous says:

          That verse is actually ‘if a man also lies with a child as he lieth with a woman, he has committed an abomination’, talking about pedophiles, not gay people.
          The Bible has been changed by man over thousands of years to fit their agenda. You really believe God so easily said they shall be put to death but is easy to forgive other sins? It’s so obviously been exaggerated and I’m shocked how none of you see this.
          The original, untouched book is in Rome and it says child instead of mankind, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

        • Anonymous says:

          What about Ezekiel 23:20

          There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

          • Bertie : B says:

            Hmmm cant say I have ever seen the genitals of a donkey ! hey Girls sorry to see you are still stuck fighting this Bulls@#t , Cayman listen up , let these young ladies get married for crying out loud , this is taking longer than the Iraq war . Think its time to go check out a donkey , my curiosity has been raised lmao .

      • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      Where was your fairytale god the other week when that poor lady got held at knifepoint and raped?

      Where were your pastors to protest at fort st for harsher penalties for rape?

      Oh wait, your story book instructs that the rapist has to marry their victim. Makes sense now.

    • Brian of Nazareth says:

      Which god are you talking about? at the last count there were about 3000…(asking for a friend).

  18. Anonymous says:

    Lights out. Move on and stop wasting the courts time.

  19. Anonymous says:

    The Privy Council needs to respond with force to shut down this out of time and frivolous appeal. Post Haste!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well, first the Court of Appeal has to rule on whether consent is given – getting a bit ahead of yourself there. And with force? Suggesting a drone strike or something?

    • Anonymous says:

      I support these ladies but I doubt very much that this case will succeed on appeal. A UK Order in Council is the only hope and the judges can’t compel that.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Wishing you all the luck and love you need for this!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I hope they get damages, and that government officials are made personally liable.

    • Anonymous says:

      Especially one particularly verbal member of the LA with his hateful vitriol. Completely inappropriate behaviour for a political representative.

      • Fair and Balanced says:

        Heterosexual Caymanians do not hate gays or lesbians – after all gays and lesbians have been born, raised, lived an adult life and died in the Cayman Islands, all in the full knowledge of their Caymanian family and friends.

        What straight or heterosexual Caymanians hate is being told by gays and lesbians that we should not express a view that is contrary to a gay or lesbian lifestyle!

        The liberals are not very kind to straight people.

        • Anonymous says:

          No one is saying you can’t hold an opinion.

          The fact that you lobby against equal rights for other Caymanians because of said opinion is the problem.

          Likewise, I don’t like that you bash the gay lifestyle, but I will defend your right to free speech to do so!

        • Anonymous says:

          They don’t hate them – just say they shouldn’t have the same rights then get upset and play the victim when people complain.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stand down!

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