Domestic Partnership Bill drafted

| 26/06/2020 | 77 Comments
Cayman News Service
Chantelle Day (left) and Vicky Bodden

(CNS): Over seven months after the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal directed government to “expeditiously” implement some form of same-sex civil partnership legislation, a bill has finally been drafted for public consultation. The court made the order after overturning the chief justice’s ruling from March 2019 legalising same-sex marriage. In response, government has now come up with a Domestic Partnership Law.

The bill was posted Friday on the government gazette alongside a statement from government confirming the 30-day consultation period and plans to have the proposed legislation before the Legislative Assembly soon after that.

The bill will not be debated next week when lawmakers are expected to meet but at a later sitting, but it is already clear that the premier and others are expecting a backlash.

Speaking at the Friday COVID-19 press briefing when asked about the draft bill, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that to say this was a controversial issue was a real understatement.

“There will be objections, there will be comment, there will be heated debate about these issues but that’s the way it works in a democracy,” he said, adding that he felt it was a matter of opinion whether or not what has been said in the Legislative Assembly on this topic was hate speech. But he added that he could not “police what people say”.

Meanwhile, Governor Martyn Roper refused to confirm his fears of a backlash even after he issued a statement on Friday afternoon welcoming the bill but also urged tolerance. In that statement he encouraged people to continue the kindness they had shown to each other during the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Our constitution recognises our Christian values, the importance of the rule of law and our respect for human dignity, equality and freedom.  These values apply to us all and I hope that we all continue to show a spirit of tolerance and compassion to all members of our society,” the governor said.

“In the Covid crisis, we have learnt more about what really matters… At a time when the Black Lives Matters campaign is rightly forcing all of us to look carefully at our own behaviours, I urge everyone to treat each other with renewed courtesy, dignity and respect at all times,” he added.

Meanwhile, the government statement, which was issued by the premier, made it clear that there was no choice but to enact the law, indicating the ongoing fears that the Legislative Assembly might still reject the bill.

McLaughlin indicated that the law was in response to the court’s order regarding the constitutional challenge, which was brought by Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden-Bush seeking the right to enter into same-sex marriage, or at the minimum a declaration that provision should be made for them to enter into a civil partnership.

The government said that while the appeal court had ruled that marriage in the Cayman Islands can only be between couples of opposite sex, it made “a very unequivocal and strongly worded declaration to the effect that Day and Bodden-Bush are entitled, expeditiously, to legal protection in the Cayman Islands, which is functionally equivalent to marriage”.

Justifying the necessity to bring the law, government said the court had made it clear at the time there was an obligation to provide a framework and by failing to do so the Legislative Assembly was in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Given that government must obey the law and respect decisions of the court, the statement indicated that “it would be wholly unacceptable for this declaration by the court to be ignored”.

While Day and Bodden-Bush have taken the case to the Privy Council in the UK, seeking to overturn the appeal court’s decision and reinstate the original ruling by the chief justice, the government said it still has an obligation to deal with an equivalent legal framework for marriage that can accommodate the court’s ruling.

However, the bill makes no mention of same-sex partnerships, nor is it clear on how similar the rights will be for those entering into such a relationship compared to marriage.

Check back to CNS next week for more on the interpretation of the law.

Comments on the bill by members of the public may be forwarded to the Legislative Drafting Department at
or c/o the Portfolio of Legal Affairs, 4thfloor, Government Administration Building.

See the statements by the governor, government and the bill itself in the CNS Library.

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Comments (77)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Before commenting, please read this slowly and carefully:

    Allowing people to be vegan doesn’t mean you have to stop eating meat.

    Allowing gay people to love each other doesn’t mean you have to stop being straight.

    The only people forcing a lifestyle in Cayman is the churches who say “convert to us or you deserve to burn forever”.

  2. Live and let live says:

    As long as no one tries to force their lifestyle on any minor, it is fine by me. I could not care less which consenting adult loves another and I am not God to judge. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Anonymous says:

      Not saying you are, but it’s absolutely hilarious that the same parents who give their kids access to smartphones think that allowing gay marriage is “forcing the lifestyle onto the children”. As if the devices they use to watch cartoons on YouTube can’t easily access RedTube and similar sites that might slip by a blocker.

      Besides, sending your child into the closet won’t change anything except losing their trust. I would rather my child be open and honest with me than to hide stuff they feel I would shun them for.

    • Tom McField says:

      Does that include Churches?

    • Anonymous says:

      With respect, only an evil paedophile would force their lifestyle on a minor. I’ve heard this response so many times. Why are people so quick to group normal, non-psychopath couples with paedophiles? Where’s the connection?

  3. ELO says:

    It’s 2020 folks. Time to stop objecting. We should be respectful of people’s wishes. To the outside world looking in we must look very intolerant. What about “Cayman Kind”. Doesn’t it apply to sane sex couples ? It’s 2020

  4. Anonymous says:

    Soon we will be like canada & california and other super liberal places where you can get fired from work for having a different opinion n will be called all different kinds of “isms” and “phobics” if you dont comply n agree with everything they say or do, or claim its “hate speech” if you say theres only two genders lol. The far left is makin their move all over the world even here in Cayman & free speech will be one of the first things to go!

    • Anonymous says:

      You sound like the idiots who complained that “the far left are making their move and soon I will have to share buses and water fountains with the Blacks or be arrested”.

      This isn’t 1960 anymore.

    • Anonymous says:

      Weird that you’d put Canada on the progressive civil rights list, but it doesn’t really matter…time’s up on being a white male idiot everywhere. Being a jerk is not a birthright in today’s society. If you can’t adjust, or don’t know right from wrong, then expect to be called-out on it. A Caymanian

      • Anonymous says:

        You clearly dont know right from wrong. Soon we will have drag queen story time for kids all that good stuff “progressive”, all they wanted was to get married they said n now look at the mess in north america

        • Anonymous says:

          Yeah – the mess the US is in is entirely the responsibility of progressive views on sexual identity and has nothing to do with the election of a xenophobic, racist, misogynistic and intellectually stunted clown.

      • Anonymous says:

        Love the way you call out someone for being a jerk for being biased against a specific group and obviously prejudiced, and then assume that they are white and male. Because you obviously have no prejudices at all and cannot conceive that the original poster could be black or female. Hilarious. You cannot recognize your own unconscious bias whilst calling it out in others.

  5. Michael Day says:

    Chantelle is my Daughter and I am so proud of her and her partner Vickie- not just because of the classy, stoic manner in which they are bravely seeking their right of legal recognition of their love-filled Union, but moreover because their wonderful parenting of my amazing Grand daughter.

    Their home is filled with love. A model family unit wishing to exist in peace and do the very best for their loved ones. That’s want we all want, right?

    So how does their union affect anyone else’s lives? It doesn’t!

    Haters: please stop hating and seek to better your characters. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

    Elvis Costello sang: “what’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

    Vickie and Chantelle – many LGBT couples will benefit from what you are achieving . Be proud of yourselves, as me and so many others are PROUD OF YOU. X

  6. Anonymous says:

    I once worked with a lady who said that she shared a man with another woman and that they all lived together and were happy with the arrangement. I suspect that they will want to enter into a domestic partnership agreement and hope that the new laws will not discriminate against them.

    CNS: That whizzing sound is the whole concept of equal rights flying over your head. The point here is that if heterosexual couples are allowed to be legally joined, then same-sex couples should be afforded the same rights. Polygamy is not a sexual orientation.

    • Anonymous says:

      The bias that some people bring to this issue is unfortunate and regrettable. They want people to think that they are for true equality when in reality they are only for the equality that they think people should have. It is this type of small and narrow-minded thinking that has resulted in true equality being denied to consenting adults that love each other and want the same rights as any other combination of consenting adults.

    • Anonymous says:

      You’ve got to be XXX-ing me. That old “this is gonna lead to polygamy and people marrying their livestock” argument again? Grow up!

      • Anonymous says:

        You miss the point. They don’t marry the livestock. It’s all free love, no commitment or vows – shocking stuff.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This still isn’t equality, but at least the Cayman Islands will fall in line with the minimum expectations and obligations for all UK overseas territories. It should also be good news for heterosexual couples, that up until this point had been compelled by immigration laws in regards to continuance in the Cayman Islands, to get married for all the wrong reasons…and then the cheating, abuse, resentment, divorce, broken kids and homes in the years after. Innumerable case studies.

  8. Benny the quill says:

    Not this foolishness again!! Nothing like using a crisis to distract the citizens eh? with all these enormous economic burdens and hurdles ahead Why are we messing with this when we have more pressing and important issues to deal with. Like having to use donations now to feed our people. What the courts need to sort out is why the courts giving stay of deportations for criminals who use family reasons when the DNA of the children refutes their claim to remain?

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s precisely when there’s something like a health crisis that equality really matters. Imagine if your spouse got sick and you weren’t able to help make medical decisions on their behalf, or entitled to inherit your shared home if they (God forbid) passed away, because you’re not recognized as equal under the law.

  9. nauticalone345 says:

    It’s sad so many are still so filled with intolerance, that we find ourselves having to still fight so hard to move our islands forward. Thanks Chantelle and Vicky for your strength and thanks Mr. Smellie and the Courts for insisting those in the LA follow the Constitution!

    Next: SIPL!

  10. Anonymous says:

    While I am not against the idea of domestic partnerships the whole process is a bit concerning.

    How can the Cayman Islands be a democracy if our MLAs can be essential forced to vote for something that they do not agree with? If there is a court that is supreme over our elected representatives then that court should enact whatever laws it see fit to enact.

    We also need to be mindful that any domestic partnership legislation does not itself discriminate against any consenting group of adults that want to enter into a domestic partnership.

    • Anonymous says:

      I want to know what you think the court is for? Who holds the government accountable when they continue to admittedly breach human rights international obligations that they are subject to? I think you should do some research on the topic so you can learn and grow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because there is a constitution that binds them to the law. What if they all decided they wanted to imprison people from a certain country or a certain race, you think they should be allowed to if they all vote for it?

      • Anonymous says:

        What if some moron who decided to legislate from the bench wanted to do something similar?

        • Anonymous says:

          They can’t. The Court doesn’t have that authority. Case Closed.

          • Anonymous says:

            You need to wake up. They court is trying to force our MLAs to enact laws that they don’t support. Case Closed.

            • Anonymous says:

              The court is forcing them to comply with the Constitution that the MLAs enacted. Case closed. See – we can do this all day; doesn’t change the fact that failing to allow civil relationships may be something you personally support, but isn’t legal under the Cayman constitution and is in breach of Hunan rights treaties Cayman is signed up to.

    • Anon says:

      A modern democracy is not rule by the mob majority, which is what your comment didn’t say, but necessarily implies. We are a land of laws. The highest laws that we all agree on are that individuals have essential freedoms and no individual can have more or less freedoms than another. Full stop. You can’t override that by using a mob of voters, otherwise we become a banana republic with voters, not a true democratic republic.

    • Likeitis says:

      Because Cayman is a territory not a sovereign state, so the laws of the nation trump the views of local regional officials.

    • Anonymous says:

      No one is forcing them to vote one way or the other. If they don’t like it they can always write a Bill they do support. It just has to meet the requirements of the Constitution.

      So for example, they cannot pass a Law that we are all American or European or Canadian or Independent, no matter how much some of us may want it.

      Democracy was shown when Cayman voted for the Constitution. Now the legislature has to follow the will of the people in the subsequent laws.

  11. Anonymous says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    SIPL is far too overreaching and should be scrapped.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Why do we have to bow to these minorities?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      You don’t have to bow. You just have to not make them bow to you.

      • Anon says:

        Exactly. Said another way, why do those who object feel that they are superior to other individuals and deserve more freedoms than some minority?

    • Anonymous says:

      Based on your logic the majority should always hold the power to mistreat and discriminate against the minority whether it’s on the basis of skin colour, sexuality, gender Etc.

      Also based on your logic, the rights of all Caymanians don’t matter? Didn’t know that we lived in a society where minorities should be openly discriminated against. Oh sorry we do, I forgot we live in Cayman.

      Signed by a Caymanian

      • Anonymous says:

        Its call democracy 1:35pm What do you suggest your model unfortunately ends in more conflict and genocides in some instances. Our freedom is way more important than you selfish or good idea.

    • Anonymous says:

      These are Caymanians.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Way to go Gov. Roper. Now tell the MLA to leave the SIPL along and enforce it.

  15. equality not equivalency says:

    The premier says it’s “a matter of opinion whether or not what has been said in the Legislative Assembly on this topic was hate speech”. Well, any fair-minded person would say it was DEFINITELY hate speech. These people — even if they have seats in the Assembly — do NOT represent Cayman values or Christian values. They are hate mongers, period. As for the bill being presented, it purports to offer equivalency — which is not the same as equality. All people must be treated EQUALLY, period. This is exactly why Vickie and Chantelle will rightfully win their appeal in the Privy Council. More power to them. The day will come when their wedding picture will be the top story in this paper. And all of us will be celebrating with them — except, of course, the hate mongers with their phony self-righteousness.

  16. Anonymous says:

    He certainly won’t be having a Larry Grayson moment…oh what a gay day’©️

  17. No Name says:

    Wow. What a world we are living in. These are the End Times, folks. The wolves have outnumbered the sheep in positions of power. Saying – “You give them an inch, they will take a mile.” Anthony Eden was right all along. Anc I guess CNS will be spinning this one in their effort. Nah true?

    Spin what? The fact of what the government has done/is doing? The fact that it has obeyed a court order?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes because two people who love each other is at the top of God’s strike list. Give me a break. I’m a believer but I just can’t believe that God would hate a group of people HE created, and the fact that people like you think two people who love each other means we’re in the end times is concerning, and is a perfect example of why religion has a bad name. God said people will say and do vile things in his name, and this is one of them.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Must be election time around the corner.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Decisions like this and the most deserved stipend for our COVID-19 heroes is why the PPM is unbeatable.

    Better try join them cause you won’t beat them.

    Just watch the LA next week and you will see class act vs amateur hour.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Great news but the bill must be applicable to all couples. Not just same sex. Many opposite sex couples may not want to “get married”.

    • //s3k says:

      My parents divorced when I was young and that broke little 10 year old me in two.

      I don’t want a marriage/wedding. I love my opposite sex partner. This brings hope. I don’t care if two same sex adults want to love each other. Make peace not war.

      #Love Wins

      • Anonymous says:

        So you agree??? Maybe one day you will wish to be legally joined for some purpose, e.g. health care, pension, etc.

        • Anonymous says:

          FFS…A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life, but are not married. People in domestic partnerships receive benefits that guarantee right of survivorship, hospital visitation, estate planning, co-mortgage, co-insurance, custody of children, and others.

        • Anonymous says:

          Please people enough of your hate and misinformation. Allowing two people of the same sex to marry will have no more effect on your life than the many sham marriages that occur here between people of the opposite sex.

          I know more same sex relationships that have out lasted many of my friends’ heterosexual marriages. My same sex relationship being one of them.

          Love is Love. I just want my foreign born partner to be able to live legally with me here until God takes us home.

          My marriage or domestic partnership or whatever other name the government wishes to attach to my right to have my relationship legalized, will not take away a dam thing from any of you haters.

  21. Namor the Submariner says:

    Kudos to the “Progressives”-led government for finally living up to their name! (After being forced by the courts…)

  22. Anonymous says:

    Look I know a lot of you don’t agree with the LGBT community, but just let them have this one guys! I know your beliefs will make you think differently and I respect everyone’s point of you, but can’t we just accept them as fellow human beings and look past their sexuality?

    • A. Straight says:

      I have no problem with your way of life, 8:11 pm. I feel that love can not be regulated and a person should be able to live whatever life they choose, AS LONG AS THEY AREN’T FORCING THEIR WAYS ON ANYONE ELSE. No adult should attempt to control any part of another adult’s life. What adults do in private should be private…. not illegal.

      • Anonymous says:

        But that’s the problem, who said they’re forcing their way of life on you? Wanting the equal right to marry is forcing their way of life on you?? In fact, what is their way of life? That’s what I’d like to know. I have gay friends and they are as normal as can be so I don’t understand ‘way of life’.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Go Chantelle and Vicky! Let the troglodytes fume but those of us living in the 21st century applaud your determination. The day that you walk down the aisle and get MARRIED will be worth the wait.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Too little, too late, you smug constitution-breaking bastards. You unlawful actions over the last few years have caused immeasurable heartache. The fact that you are about to lose multiple lawsuits is not a sound reason for your change of heart. You only had to do the right thing, and refused. You have broken your own laws in the process. This is not marriage equality. This is apartheid.

  25. Anonymous says:

    The magic sky fairy who loves everyone (apart from people who love other people who have the same genitalia) is gonna have to put his smiting trousers on!

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you really need to bring awareness to one cause by showing hate and mockery to anothers?

      Kindness is a choice no matter who you have sex with and what you believe. Kindness is in our words and actions.

      I don’t need to hate the person that doesn’t like me.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, when the one is the direct cause of the other and their position is so entrenched, absurd and self-contradictory that serious debate is impossible. They preach love and kindness based on belief, they practise hate and intolerance based on rejection of the truth. That is what mockery was made for.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, if that wasn’t hate filled, I don’t know what was..

      You cannot justify your beliefs by denigrating and making a mockery of others. You are in essence doing the same thing that they are doing and hence the reason we are still in this predicament.

      LGBTQ people can still believe in God and be gay too and vice versa..Believe it or not there are many Christians out there that support the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ community. We should not hate or generalize anyone based on their faith or sexual preference..

  26. Anonymous says:

    Watching the progress and comments on this bill is going to be the most entertaining dumpster fire since the actual dump fire.

    • Dazed and Confused says:

      Somewhere in East End Antony Eden is having the biggest sulk going.

      • Anonymous says:

        He isn’t from East End moron. That’s Arden

      • Anonymous says:

        The biggest homophobes are usually the deepest in the closet – it’s why I bullied gay kids in high school, yet I’ve grown up to realize I actually am too. Self growth.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s not impossible. More likely he doesn’t believe what he’s saying but is doing it because he knows his core supporters are dimwits and he’s using hate speech out of self-interest. That’s actually worse in my humble opinion.

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