UK court to decide if gay marriage lawful

| 12/01/2021 | 70 Comments
Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden-Bush with their legal team outside the courthouse

(CNS): The controversial same-sex marriage suit brought by Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden will go before the UK Privy Council in six weeks time, according to the updated schedule for the high court. The senior judges will be the final arbitrators on whether or not the Cayman Islands Bill of Rights requires marriage to accommodate same-sex couples or if government has gone far enough with the Civil Partnership Law.

Day, who is Caymanian, and Bodden, who is British, began their personal journey to try to marry here almost four years ago when they wrote to Premier Alden McLaughlin asking for some form of equivalent framework to marry, in accordance with the European Convention, that would allow them, as a same-sex couple, to lawfully secure their relationship in the Cayman Islands. However, the government failed to implement any form of legal gay unions.

So when the couple returned to Cayman in 2018, they applied for a marriage licence, knowing it was likely to take them on a long road through the courts. They were, as expected, refused a marriage licence on the grounds that the law here defines “marriage” to mean “the union between a man and a woman as husband and wife”.

Day and Bodden applied to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands for a declaration that the law did not conform with their rights under the Bill of Rights and should be modified accordingly. In March 2019 the Grand Court found in their favour, deciding that the Marriage Law should be read as defining “marriage” to mean “the union between two people as one another spouses”.

Government successfully appealed that decision in November, and while the Court of Appeal found there was no guarantee of the right to marry for same-sex couples, they were entitled to legal protection that is functionally equivalent to marriage, which at the time the Legislative Assembly of the Cayman Islands had failed to ensure.

That triggered a political battle in which the premier opted to allow his ministers a conscience vote on legislation drafted to meet the court’s direction. As expected, the bill was defeated, as members of the Legislative Assembly (now Parliament) were enraged over the very idea of the legal sanctioning of same-sex couples.

This outrage in opposition to love has also enraged the local community, since there has not been an ounce of backlash from those same politicians regarding the hate that was displayed by Speaker McKeeva Bush surrounding his recent conviction for a violent assault on a woman whom he had labelled a “mother f@#$ing lesbian” in a social media message in the immediate wake of the attack.

With the Domestic Partnership Law defeated, Governor Martyn Roper stepped in and imposed the Civil Partnership Law using his constitutional powers to impose legislation, further fuelling the controversy surrounding the same-sex marriage equivalency debate.

Meanwhile, as the firestorm over the law reached fever pitch, Day and Bodden filed their case with the UK court in pursuit of marriage rather than a civil partnership.

As more countries have embraced same-sex marriage, the inequities inherent in a legal equivalent for gay couples that is not marriage have become increasingly apparent, along with the realisation that ‘same but different’ isn’t equal.

As a result, Day and Bodden remain hopeful that the Privy Council will find that the civil partnership legislation is still discriminatory and that from the beginning the chief justice was right when he ruled that the Marriage Law must be interpreted to include same-sex as well as different-sex couples.

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Comments (70)

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  1. Edgar Poe says:

    If they were treated like any other couple this wouldn’t even be news or anyone’s business but theirs. I am not gay but I have chosen to live and let live. We will all be judged by our own deeds and not anyone else’s. Cayman’s so called Christians tend to turn a blind eye to worse things than same sex couples. You cannot pick and choose which parts of the Bible you wish to follow.

  2. Paul says:

    Just abolish marriage and have civil unions for all couples – problem solved immediately!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good luck girls. The seethe on this one will be monumental. Anything that pokes these bigoted old dinosaurs in the eye is good with me. Pass the popcorn! Woohoo!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Haters gonna hate. Too bad they are the ones in charge in Cayman islands. At least they don’t beat Gay people up anymore. Wait. Strike that. Obviously it is still an entitlement right to get away with it here. Carry a big stick and fight back! Best you can do. Good luck to my brothers and Sisters and call me if you need help.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Better Title: UK Court will mandates Churches perform Same Sex-Marriages or be sued for discrimination, and your children be forced to learn and accept same sex marriages or be expelled from school for hate.

    Thank you Governor!

    CNS: Hyperbolic drivel driven by ignorance and bigotry. Freedom of religion/conscience remains a human right. You are simply required to respect other people’s same rights. Churches in the UK are not forced to hold same-sex marriage. See here for guidance on ‘Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education’ by the UK Dept of Ed. No child would be expelled for their beliefs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Since my life has not changed at all – AT ALL IN ANY WAY – upon the introduction of civil unions, even though I really didn’t want Cayman to become a place where other men are introducing me to their husbands at dinner parties (I support equality but not having to think of lube in polite conversation), I just can’t maintain even that objection anymore. Go ahead and let’s have gay marriage. It’s equal, it’s fair, one love, love wins, etc. etc. we know, just get on with it.

    • PhenomAnon says:

      @10:12 Glad to hear that you’re on the side of fairness and equality for all. I’m just wondering whether you also think of lube when you’re introduced to a straight couple? Pretty sure straight couples use lube too. Just saying.

    • Anonymous says:

      Interesting you only think about men having intercourse together at dinner parties and not men and women having intercourse together.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fascinating that while my comment has had 84% approval based on the thumbs, people still have felt the need to pick at what I said, and my responses only get thumbed down. Learn to take yes for an answer people. (And please no sarcastic crap about ‘who asked you?’ This is a public discussion forum and people are asking me questions based on a viewpoint I shared). Heterosexual sex and heterosexual relationships are the norms I grew up with. I am heterosexual. I have a mother and a father. There are no gay people in my family – none (and don’t say I’m joking or lying; there aren’t and I know that. I don’t have a large family, and we’re all straight). None of my friends who are gay came out until their 20s and I honestly never considered that they were gay; everyone else knew but not me. When I found out, I went ‘oh, that makes sense’, and carried on. So give people who are actually allies but who need to adjust their cultural conditioning some time, please. It’s the forcing and the insistence and the damnation I draw the line at. If you aren’t happy unless I put on a rainbow thong right now and run through Camana Bay, you’re going to remain unhappy. I said what I said, people seem to understand it.

      • Anonymous says:

        “If you aren’t happy unless I put on a rainbow thong right now and run through Camana Bay, you’re going to remain unhappy.”

        You’re clearly confused dear. No one is expecting you to change your behavior or sexuality. But you made it clear the only thing that you can think of is gay sex when you see a gay couple. Lube? Both men and women naturally produce it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes, because that’s what they do differently in their free time to me. If I’m lucky enough, I sleep with a woman. I assume the same of other men so when I see gay men, I am prompted ‘they are different to you, if given a chance they would not sleep with a woman’. I’ve been hit on many, many times by gay men. I’ve had gay friends tell me their gay friend thinks I’m hot. I’m not lying. They’ve all known I’m straight but maybe, just maybe I might be up for some poppers, if I’m asked enough times or flirted with enough times. How is that not going to impact how I view them and myself? I had a guy tell me once when I was 18 that I was a “chicken” and if I’d never been with a man how could I know I wouldn’t like it? For weeks he tried this because we had the same neighbourhood bar. So yeah, gay guys are horny as hell and I as a heterosexual man am not comfortable with their sexuality. It does not mean I do not believe they are entitled to equality.

          Besides, gays are only 10% of the population (old estimate, could have changed). Same as being left-handed. You don’t think about the fact that you’re right-handed until you see someone left-handed do you? I don’t think about gay sex unless I see gay people, because that’s the type of sex they have and it makes them different to me and they aren’t THAT commonly encountered unless you’re already friends with them (because they also only socialise amongst themselves and others who are woke enough). It makes them different, so my mind reminds me. They’re different. Your most primal drive is not the same as theirs.

          Let me give you it from another perspective: in my apartment building it’s all straight couples, except for me (I’m single – and waiting for the comment that that’s no surprise so don’t let me down people, you’re on a roll so far). One of the wives is hot, and yeah, I’ve thought about what that would be like – me with her. I have NOT thought about what her and her husband do. But a gay couple moved to the next building the other day, and yeah, it does occur to me that they’re going to be doing all sorts of stuff I would not want to watch or know about maybe 30 feet away from where I sleep. It makes no difference to my life at all but there is a part of my brain that goes: ick, that’s their home life, that’s where they do all that gay stuff. It just is what it is.

          These replies were so predictable but I am still fascinated by the fact that people keep upvoting my original comment, while downvoting my responses. Even if I’d said ‘and no I’m not in the closet, part of me doesn’t even understand why women are attracted to men, let alone other men. All that hair…no thank you’, people would still have said I was in the closet. It’s just a cheap shot with no value at all. ‘See, he thinks about gay sex! He’s gay and attacking gay people! What a closet homophobe!’ Come on.

          Anyway, I’m done here. You’re right that I asked for this, but that doesn’t give people the right to plead ignorance of the fact that we are in many ways naturally comfortable with what we know and do ourselves and not with what we don’t. IT DOESN’T CHANGE THE FACT THAT I SUPPORT GAY MARRIAGE, not just in other countries as I always have, but now here too. In fact, my best friend is gay and Caymanian (though he’s not out) and I want him to be able to marry in his home country. So people can say what they want – I’ve said my piece.

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      I don’t think I’ve ever heard it said better than that. I hope you are the person that you project here. You speak of the crux of all of this — it doesn’t affect us personally in any way, except make the Cayman Islands a place where equality works for everyone.

      People should be free to be who they are. It’s just that simple. Our laws support and allow that. What is the big freaking deal?? If you love someone and they love you back you are a lucky person. Marry them. Live long and be well.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anyone who objects to UK laws concerning the basic rights of two adults in a committed relationship should really not be accepting our vaccines either …

  8. JTB says:

    Let’s not forget that Kattina Anglin’s challenge to the new civil partnership law is still pending.

    Most lawyers on the island think that her challenge is legally quite strong, even if almost none of them actually agree with it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Does anyone really think any court can strike down the law after Governor got instructions from UK? It should have been done years ago. Read about the two specific issues in the same sex marriage appeal. Especially the second one.

      • JTB says:

        The Governor passed the law under section 81 of the COnstitution, which gives him authority to do so only in respect of matters for which he is responsible under section 55.

        Section 55 defines the Governor’s areas of responsibility as defence, external affairs, internal security and appointment of civil servants.

        Neither I, or any other lawyer I know, has come up with a convincing explanation of how you shoehorn civil partnerships into that list. I believe the official explanation is that it’s the ‘external affairs’ one by virtue of Cayman’s obligations under international human rights law. Well, good luck with that.

        I am a committed supporter of gay marriage, and I would like to see this law upheld, and for the Privy Council appeal to succeed. But, as a lawyer, I think the Governor didn’t have the power to pass this law in the way he did.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kattina Anglin submission is worthless. A middle schooler would write a brief making more sense than her poorly worded drivel. She is just a puppet of the usual suspects… so keep suspecting them!

  9. Anonymous says:

    We shall fight for our rights the same way they do. Jesus wins 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Jesus isn’t real. These two ladies whom love each other are. Take a good hard look at how you live your life before you judge others.

      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        You do the whole process a disservice by trying to meld religion with human rights. They are two separate, but possibly equal ideals.

        Jesus — if you care — allegedly spoke about universal love. That we should love each other.

        What we are talking about here are equal rights for our people. Equality before the law, that’s what it’s all about.

        Religion is important to some, but it should not play a part in civil rights, nor in articles of the law.

    • Anonymous says:

      What right? Not to marry a person of your gender? You have it. What else do you want? To decide how others should live their lives?

    • Anonymous says:

      The Jesus I’ve read about would absolutely, 100% support gay marriage as it is a testimony of love. That Jesus would be ashamed of his followers who are judging others, therefore breaking his main commandment.

    • last zion says:

      What rights of yours have been infringed? Your right to “discriminate” against people? Your right to be morally offended?

      Even though i don’t believe in your god or any god, i don’t try and stop you from wasting your time? I really don’t understand why you can’t just keep your nose out of other people’s business and let me get on with their life? Why do you believe you are so morally superior that you have the right to determine how other people live?

    • JTB says:

      Which of your rights is being infringed?

      The right to prevent other people, who you don’t know, and who love each other, from making a binding commitment to each other?

      If Jesus were real, and believed what your fairy stories say(you know, the bit about loving one another), then I rather suspect he would not be on your side in this one.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Banana republic at its finest where’s the Cayman kind here

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m not even gay but I hope they get their marriage rights just to burn the complacent churches who like to lobby gov so much and so called Christian women up in parliament.

    Two consenting adults? Big problem.

    Man guilty of assaulting woman? Turn the cheek na true?

  12. Anonymous says:

    Kick the woman beater out of office and let these two lovely ladies get married. End of story!!!

  13. Anonymous says:

    1. God does not exist.
    2. God did exist, but has been replaced by another god who believes in gay marriage.
    3. God does exist, but has changed His mind on gay marriage.
    4. God is exactly who He is purported to be and judgement is imminent.

    I am with 4.

    • Anonymous says:

      God help you

    • Anonymous says:

      only god can judge?

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Again, you screw up this whole process by challenging religion, instead of supporting equal rights. They are NOT the same. Religion should not have a part in legislation. Religion is about faith, which does not have to be ordained by law.

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr Zodecloun, I beg to differ. The foundation of our law that we have today is derived from the 10 commandments.
        These commandments were received personally by a man who is known to have existed, Moses.
        Moses spoke of another. That other man appeared many years later, born of a virgin in Bethlehem as was pretold by the prophet Micah. This Man was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He lived a sinless life, did much good for people and was executed under false treatises.
        Truth cannot be destroyed which is why He rose from the dead and millions of us have put our faith in Him through the propagation of the Good News of the gospel.
        Doesn’t the fence hurt your bottom when you sit on it?

  14. Anonymous says:

    It’s going to be judged upon by civilized and educated people this time? Well then, it should be finally dealt with properly this time and give these women the chance to have what they deserve and worked so hard for. You girls and everyone else looking to be accepted for who they are deserve better. Good luck, but you won’t need it this time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shows what you think of our Court of Appeal, which is mostly British. I hope you aren’t a lawyer with that kind of respect for the judiciary and it’s just your ‘British supremacy’ talking.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I’m worried that the UK Privy Council doesn’t decide in favour of same-sex marriage as it might set a precedent which would affect the UK’s relationship with Northern Ireland (which also has a quite religious local government). In any case I wish the best for Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden and hope that justice and equality prevail!!

    • Anonymous says:

      UKs relationship with Northern Ireland is like a dysfunctional relationship at best. Moron Johnson solidified the last breakup.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wayne Panton is the only politician who would have made sure we passed the Gay Marriage law. And those people in Newlands chose to vote for someone who is too afraid of the magic fairy in the sky to do it!

  17. Hold on, hold on... says:

    someone named Bodden-Bush is British, not Caymanian?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Why in the world is this an issue?? I support their rights to a happy life with the same that are applied to a heterosexual couple.

    Yet Caymans hypocrites wave their arms, beat up their gums and chat s#!/ in the churches… because we are Christians.

    Yet it’s no problem beating up women at WB Road establishments… Haven’t heard a peek from those in the churches, or the THREE WOMEN who sit in Parliament.

    Hypocrisy at its best.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Woot woot! Make Cayman Proud!

  20. Anonymous says:

    The VERY BEST of luck ladies 🤞🤞🤞

    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      I wish them luck also; let us remember that they are the pioneers for this legislation, however there are thousand of others now and in the future who are being marginalised by the lack of it.

      It will benefit us all to some extent to be able to proclaim that The Cayman Islands endorse and support equality for all.

      • Anonymous says:

        I disagree with you, totally. There is a God in heaven. He will cleave the truth from the lies with the axe of Truth.
        You sound all fancy, but where will you be on that day?

        • Anonymous says:

          Probably going about our day as usual since this is a complete scare tactic of biblical proportions.

        • Anonymous says:

          In Heaven. You?

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          The same place as you, brother. I will be held accountable for my works. I will be glad to stand before God and say with a pure heart that I’ve never discriminated against anyone.

          I hope you will be able to say the same.

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s funny and sad at the same time how all these prophecies and aspirations surface when someone says words ‘gay’ and ‘same sex marriage ‘. Nothing else seems to trigger biblical quotes and outcry but two people loving each other. Priorities though.

        • BeaumontZodecloun says:

          You probably meant to reply to someone else.. I said nothing about God. There is this narrative that some people have equating those that believe in human rights with atheism, and those that are against human rights as Christians. While these things are sometimes true, they are not absolutes and painting with such a broad brush does us all a disservice by muddying an already muddy water.

          I believe in God, and support same-sex marriage. I support equal rights under the law for all people. I believe that the law isn’t always equally applied, but the law itself should mandate equality for everyone. Guess what? It does. You and me and everyone else is free to engage in any religion (or not) as we choose.

          This legislation is not ABOUT religion. It is about civil rights and equality.

      • Anonymous says:

        your idea of heaven sounds like my idea of hell. stuck in the same place for eternity with a bunch of people that hate anything different from themselves and think God takes an attendance list at church

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