Premier mum on votes for civil partners bill

| 21/07/2020 | 79 Comments
Cayman News Service
Premier Alden McLaughlin

(CNS): The Legislative Assembly is due to debate the Domestic Partnership Bill next week but Premier Alden McLaughlin has remained tight-lipped on whether or not he has the support of his members to steer the legislation through. The premier has also declined to confirm if he is allowing his front-bench a vote of conscience, telling CNS this week, “We shall see”. Although the proposed law is a long way from marriage equality, there is still opposition to the bill.

However, sources have indicated to CNS that the premier is allowing his Cabinet colleagues as well as the back-bench to vote as they wish. This indicates that McLaughlin is confident he has the votes he needs.

Usually, all members of Cabinet are bound by collective responsibility and are obligated to support government policy, even if they are not entirely in agreement with it. But that can be waived by the premier.

Given the vehement opposition to any equality for same-sex couples from at least two ministers, it may well suit the premier to allow some members to abstain or even vote ‘no’ rather than cause his Cabinet to collapse if he can secure the votes across the aisle.

The legislation was finally unveiled last month, more than seven months after the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal directed government to “expeditiously” implement some form of civil partnership law to address the discrimination faced by same-sex couples.

The court made the order after overturning the chief justice’s ruling from March 2019 legalising same-sex marriage. Even though the court took the view that the Bill of Rights does not give same-sex couples the right to marry, they do have the right to something similar.

The 30-day consultation period ends next Monday and the bill is expected to face its first reading. Politicians on both sides of the political divide have been conducting surveys and canvassing constituents on what is still a polarizing issue in Cayman.

It is understood that several members of government’s caucus are still opposed, even to this proposed bill which provides only the very basic next of kin rights to those who register their partnership. Nevertheless, it appears that the premier may still have the numbers he needs.

It is likely he will get the support from the two independent members, Ezzard Miller and Kenneth Bryan, who have both said publicly that it is better for Cayman to draft its own legislation to deal with this controversial issue than have it imposed on them by the UK.

On the day the law was published the premier made it clear he believed that the controversy surrounding the legislation would continue.

“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.

However, the fact that the bill is on the agenda suggests that the premier is confident the legislation will pass. He has stated often that the government has no choice but to enact the law because of the court order and the threats that the UK government will impose same-sex marriage through an order-in-council if Cayman does not provide some form of civil partnership legislation.

This will help the premier sell the law to his Cabinet and back-benchers, who may be afraid of losing support from their constituency base which gets them elected. Despite the requirement for the Cayman Islands, as a signature of the European Convention on Human Rights, to provide an equal arrangement to marriage for same-sex couples for some five years, the government has so far managed to avoid doing so.

It was not until Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden-Bush brought a legal case asking to marry that the train was set in motion to force government to address the glaring human rights abuse.

After the appeal court ruled that marriage in the Cayman Islands can only be between couples of opposite sex, it issued a declaration that the women were entitled to legal protection “expeditiously”, and so government finally prepared the law.

The premier stated that if the Legislative Assembly failed to pass this legislation it would be in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention. He said government must obey the law and respect decisions of the court.

McLaughlin said last month that it “would be wholly unacceptable for this declaration by the court to be ignored”.


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Comments (79)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Church marriage should be just for churchy people and civil unions should be for everyone else. I’m down for that.

    • words are important says:

      As long as there are two different names — “marriage” versus “civil unions” — the implication is clear that one group “isn’t good enough” for marriage. Hence, there must be ONLY ONE type of union offered to ALL. Otherwise, this issue will continue to fester, and understandably so. After all, how would YOU like to be told that you’re second-class? Yes, this whole thing is ridiculous in a way — fighting over a word. But words are very, very important. Let there be “marriage” for all…

      • Anonymous says:

        Marriage predates Christianity. Caveat to the church trying to say it has to be a holy thing here.

        • Anonymous says:

          @5:25pm – you are right. I suspect like most others, you are of the notion that the Bible came from Christianity and not the other way around. Marriage predates religion, but not the scriptures that the Bible is made from.

          please show me where it was ever legal or acceptable for 2 people of the same sex to marry/ be in a union? You know why, because that is how societies fall apart. Look no further than the US. It started with the gays first, now we have women with penis competing in female sports and using womens bathrooms.

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanians well know what it is to be second-class in their own country.

      • Anonymous says:

        The objective standard for Marriage is the Bible. Please don’t try to change that. Marriage is much more than a word.

      • Anonymous says:

        Nah, I want to separate my heterosexual marriage from the church. Equality for all in civil unions, churches can recognize their marriages within their walls.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not that long ago mixed race couples were not allowed. THINK about that for a min please!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Still frowned upon by many. Chew on that for a bit.

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you think about having more than one wife? It was accepted in the bible and is still practiced in some countries.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is insulting to appears a person’s skin color to their sexual preference. I know people who have reverted from homosexuality but none that reverted from being a certain skin color.

      • Anonymous says:

        Michael Jackson?????

      • Anonymous says:

        Man, it’s almost like there are LGBT people of color as well. I wonder what they would think?

      • Anonymous says:

        So you say someone just stopped being gay? And you believe that? I just have to laugh… really. How did they do it? As a gay person I would love to know. Just out of curiosity. Not that I would change it even if it was possible, but I am curious.

        • Anonymous says:

          They changed through Jesus Christ! But like you said you wouldn’t change anyway, why curious? To me that’s like saying if the Bible is true and I wouldn’t believe anyway. Cus I’ve heard many Athiest say the same. God bless you.

          • Anonymous says:

            Because it’s impossible. As a gay man I promise you that. I was hoping you are not going to say they prayed the gay away but here we go. Oh well, whatever makes you happy and comfortable. I would not change even if it was possible because it would not be me as I am. And I love who I am, together with my gay partner of many years. And yes, we have found Jesus. God bless you too.

        • Anonymous says:

          @2:10 It doesn’t appear they said “just stopped being gay” but okay. So its a one way street for a gay person but a heterosexually can just become gay? That’s shouldn’t seem so…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Look Cayman. All is wanted here is a law that provides legality to the union. Why should same-sex unions not be afforded this? Stop being so hypocritical and understand that such unions really do not affect your life and do not prevent you from living it.

    Honestly, I applaud these two ladies for their efforts to have their union recognised but in actual fact, all I wish is to have my partner live here legally and have him be able to work and spend the rest of our lives together in my own country which he loves to heart too without have to keep going through the immigration bullsh**.

    Give us this right!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You may have the right to Domestic Partnership but understand that the Bible is the objective standard for Marriage.

      Give us our rights to our own views.

      • Anonymous says:

        No one is stopping you from viewing the Bible as the objective standard for marriage, and if same-sex marriage is allowed that still won’t stop you from holding this view.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It amazes me that in this day and age, with all the talk about respect and togetherness, we have people fighting this. Now I consider myself to be a liberal slightly leaning on the conservative side. How is disallowing people the option to marry a good representation of Cayman.

    My principle of freedom stands above all, as long as persons do not infringe on anyone rights or safety or property, let them live how they want.

    Forcibly preventing people from exercising their freedom looks alot worse on the global stage than if a few gays/lesbians got married. Is it really worth all this fight to hold firm in your position? I don’t think anyone is forcing our leaders to start having relations with anyone they don’t want to, but the fervor they have to fight this is dumbfounding.

    Wait until the Woke left get a hold of this and start to shame Cayman in a few months/years. I wonder how our leaders will respond. “Its our right, its our country?” or do we send someone to Hollywood again and ask them to stop talking bad about us?

    LOL, I just see no consistency in principles or values from my government.

    However I do share some responsibility in this because I’ve said nothing. Perhaps I will attend a meeting and actually speak up instead of just complaining. Maybe people my age (30) and the ones below me need to start talking and putting our foot in the ring instead of sitting by complaining about others anonymously on the internet.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey, 9:53….. What law does the Cayman Islands have that makes a couple of people the same sex living together illegal? If there is such a law, and you don’t like it, you should try to have it changed. The original laws that prevented people of the same sex living together in “marriage” probably were made to prevent them from getting the tax breaks given to people raising children……. which is certainly something that is a good idea to help defray the extra costs of raising a family. Persons of the same sex should be able to live with whomever they please, but not take money that was meant to help with the raising of a family. Think about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Love doesn’t not mean you have to approve of everyone’s behavior. But we still care for them when they are in need and help correct them when needed (ie kids). Cayman should be representing the values they were originally founded on, Christian values.

      My principles are based on the Bible. You may have the right to a union but understand the Bible is the objective standard for marriage and should not be change because people feel they know better then God.

      We should have our freedom to exercise our values as well.

      The Woke left can shame all they want because they want people to bend to their beliefs and don’t wish to respect anyone’s. I’ll respond, “Its our country” and we love all but please respect our values, if you don’t like it allow Cayman airways to assist you. You say Hollywood, the same place that is heavily involved in sex trafficking… why should anyone listen to them.

      Yes cus the Government doesn’t study the Bible for proper guidance.

      Agreed I’m 33, and will do the same.

  5. Cayman, grow up! says:

    It’s ironic that Cayman and other Caribbean islands whine endlessly about colonialism — yet cling to outdated bias about homosexuality that is a direct hand-down from the colonial era. For heaven’s sake, Cayman, step into the modern era. If two men, or two women, wish to form a union, what difference does it make to anyone else? Love is love. Let them be. You don’t want them interfering in your (straight) relationship, so why do you insist on interfering in their (gay) relationship? Note this: If you claim to be straight, and yet also claim to be bothered by gay marriage, then maybe you’re not as straight as you think you are…?

    • Anonymous says:

      When God decides He’s outdated, get back to me. You are very, very brave……or stupid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Anonymous 2:55 pm. Do you really think there is a God?

      • Anonymous says:

        If I’m stupid for not believing in your god, you’re the bigger fool for not fearing the other 4000 gods just because you read not to as I’m not the religious person here.

        • Anonymous says:

          I’m sorry, but I would say you’re stupid if you’re not a Caymanian while trying to tell a Caymanian he should not believe his God which is the God of the Bible. Especially in his own country. May God bless you and I will pray for you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Brave all day as logic is on our side.

    • Anonymous says:

      This love is love rhetoric is so stupid. There are different kinds of love, and they are not the same. The love I have for my husband is not the same love I have for my children. I love my brother, should I be able to marry him? Pedophiles love children, and some of them even cite that this is their sexually identity and they should not be discriminated against because of it, should we let them roam free and do as they wish. The fact is, the government doesn’t support marriage because people love each other, they do it to ensure the continuation of a society, aka a man and woman being able to procreate and maintain that family

    • Anonymous says:

      Can you show me where people and families are growing together more in the modern era than before? Most people today get their behavior from the TV aka Hollywood, and you should pay attention where that is leading you.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Does the Premier really believe there are no homosexuals, bisexuals currently elected to Cayman’s Parliament

    If he believes that then we should believe there are no adulterers, thieves, pedophiles, domestic abusers and corruption involving politicians, public officers living in Cayman.

    Thankfully we know better than that. The hypocrisy in this island is mind blowing.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Just let the UK government implement the legislation and let these homophobic dinosaurs wallow in their own ordure and they can tell their voters ‘Well I didn’t vote for it’ and save what face they have left.

  8. Anonymous says:

    My prediction is that the Minister who represents Cayman Brac East will “abstain” from voting if the Premier has the numbers.
    If the Premier does not have the numbers then I can see that same Minister from Cayman Brac East voting yes.
    She has switched political allegiances in the past, but kind of think she will want to go along with Cabinet – even though she seemingly is “big up” in Church

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me tell you about Julianna Connolly, you will never see her give a vote yes on this . I applaud her and Mr Eden .

  9. Anonymous says:

    Is this a representational democracy or are we a vassal state of the European Union? Also, how can any legislation be legitimate if it is only being passed/enacted under duress and under threat from outside entities?

    All members of the Legislative Assembly are accountable to the voters within their constituencies and their vote on this proposed legislation will definitely affect their reelection chances in 2021. For many voters it would be better for the historical record to reflect that an outside entity forced their will on the people of the Cayman Islands.

    • Anonymous says:

      What outside entity? We are a British Overseas Territory.

      Check the large flag flying at the highest point on the flag pole or a little tune called “God Save the Queen” which is our National Anthem.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is why we should stop talking about democracy in the Cayman Islands. We are a UK territory to be controlled and dictated to by the higher power. Let’s dispense with the pretending.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well. for one thing, the “higher power” doesn’t do squat to protect us from the stupidity and graft in our government.

  10. Anonymous says:

    30 Day Consulting Period ends next Monday and not one Politician has held a meeting or consulted with their constituents..I live in Joey’s GTN and I never saw him before or after election..never once knocked on my door but expected my vote. Praying someone else runs in 2021 I would vote for Slokey over him.

    Everyone government and opposition should have met with their constituents. To go in there and vote on something like this without having as much as one meeting simply is mind-boggling and a major misuse of the power we gave them.

    Of course we all know if the government brings the bill it is an automatic “yes.”

    CNS Note: Ezzard Miller is hosting a meeting for his constituents on Thursday evening at the Craddock Ebanks Centre 8pm.

    • Anonymous says:

      North Side MLA has called a constituency meeting for tomorrow (Thursday ) evening. Craddock Ebanks Civic Centre to discuss the bill.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m a senior voter in Aldens district and I haven’t seen him since before the last elections, nor have I been invited to any meetings (I’m told there’s a WhatsApp group but I’ve never been added). He will never get my vote again.

      • Anonymous says:

        What happens if I am the 51st person to show up?

      • Anonymous says:

        He is more interested in having public funds available to build access roads to his “farm lands”

    • Anonymous says:

      My husband and I are GTN voters. I exchanged emails a while back with Joey and he confirmed his position on the upcoming legislation. He was extremely responsive to me so I would suggest that if you want to sound him out on this issue you should just contact him. I assume there has been no constituent meetings etc because of covid.

      • Anonymous says:

        Joey know exactly where I live and I shouldn’t have to email him. He can come over anytime and discuss with me. He needs to seek me out not the other way around.

        I am tired of these politicians believing that they are deserving of my vote every four years but during those four years they can’t even pick up the phone to speak with me or come to my house and ask me how I am doing or to get my opinion on any issues.

        In a few months they will be right back at it again, mark my words..but will have a few choice words this time around…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here is my rundown for that day for the “yes” men.

    Alden
    Moses
    Austin
    David
    John John
    Tara
    Roy
    Joey
    Ezzard
    Kenneth

    Julie and Capt. Eugene will hide behind the “abstain” vote but won’t vote “no”..Barbara,would vote yes but she has to sit in for McKeeva.

    Can’t wait to hear what No. 1 has to sayon Crosstalk about Moses once he puts in his “yes” vote in..

  12. Anonymous says:

    Not one public meeting to discuss this with the people of these islands…

    Democracy, my back side..

    Alden, I had just started to give you a little credit but you are nothing but a coward politician.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Kenneth Bryan has never stood for anything besides re-election. His constituency does not support this bill but if he wants to support it to secure support from people who can’t vote for him he will be a one-term wonder.

  14. Anonymous says:

    No do Alden, he can’t upset his masters. The puppet leader!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Alden: grow a pair of balls and deal with it! Unrea, we still have people that love each other to not have the right to be together legally.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I am proud of my Government. This Unity Government will be judged as the most successful Government in the history of the Cayman Islands.

    Thank Godness the mental health facility is being built.

    When they are re elected the facility will be full.

  17. Anonymous says:

    This lot in government are full of hypocrites and bigots. They all need to go ASAP

  18. Anonymous says:

    Word on the street is that there’ll be a lot of MLAs off sick that day.

  19. PPM sinking ship says:

    Please Resign or Retire Alden and take the donkeys in the unity gowermint with you in 2021

    • Anonymous says:

      Not a bad idea. If he were to resign as Premier now, he could serve another 4 years come May.

      • Anonymous says:

        You must be the legal genius offering legal advice to Speaker Bush on his latest episode.

        I suggest you thoroughly read the Elections law and Constitution if that is Emperor Alden’s master plan.

      • Anonymous says:

        Trust me if that was possible he would have done that already..He can’t let go of the power..He is not even “Trump like” more “Putin Like” when it comes to power and controlling his people.

    • Anonymous says:

      Who will fill in for them if not Caymanian with Caymanian values? Could it be that there are Caymanians who have lived in the outside world long enough to learn a better way than what you have now? I hope so.

    • Anonymous says:

      7:28 have you made your PICK YET!

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