Challenges to Constitution are welcome, says AG

| 21/03/2022 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service
Vickie Bodden-Bush (left) and Chantelle Day

(CNS): Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden-Bush “are to be commended for their determination to litigate the issues in their case”, Attorney General Samuel Bulgin said in the wake of last week’s Privy Council ruling that upheld the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal ruling that the Constitution does not give same-sex couples the right to marry.

Bulgin, whose chambers led the fight on behalf of the elected arm of government to prevent the women from marrying, said that challenges are to be welcomed as they “enhance the jurisprudence of the jurisdiction”.

The case originated with a successful legal challenge in the Grand Court by Day and Bodden-Bush in which they secured a change to the Marriage Law facilitating same-sex marriage but ended with a failed Privy Council hearing that sided with the Court of Appeal.

In his statement, Bulgin noted the point made by all three courts involved. He said they had all stressed the need for a framework to give legal protection to same-sex relationships, which had been addressed by the Civil Partnership Act 2020.

The AG said the case has led the Privy Council to define section 14 of the Constitution as a deliberate stand-alone section providing that marriage here in Cayman should only be between people of the opposite sex. Bulgin said they found that the section is written in “highly specific terms” and its meaning could not be trumped by other parts of the Bill of Rights.

“The Cayman Islands Constitution Order, 2009 is in its relative infancy”, Bulgin said and noted that there have been “a number of very important litigations relating to various provisions” by people seeking clarification from the courts.

“It is to be expected that there will be similar challenges going forward,” he said. “Such challenges are to be welcomed as they will enhance the jurisprudence of the jurisdiction as well as the region. This, in turn, will be of interest not only to constitutional scholars and lawyers but will also result in a more informed populace.”

In this case, as well as providing clarity over section14, the courts had shown that the Constitution is not static but a “living tree”, capable of growth and expansion, he said.

“The various rulings by the courts over the years about the 2009 Constitution serve as confirmation that the Constitution and the support systems are working exactly the way they were designed to work and consistent with the rule of law in a thriving democracy,” the AG stated.

Day and Bodden-Bush may not have given up the fight and are considering a petition to the European Court of Human Rights. UK courts are required to “take account” of decisions of the ECHR but do not have to follow the decisions of that court.

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Category: Laws, Politics

Comments (25)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am not against same sex couples I always says whatever turn one on. But i think they should be satisfied with the title Civil Partnership unions with the same Rights as opposite sex marriages . For they can say my partner,not my wife or my husband, how can a man be a wife or a woman be a husband when they not equipted to be.

  2. Anonymous says:

    My only question is, who makes the sammiches?

  3. 1000 years says:

    Same-sex marriage WILL come to Cayman, wait and see. It’s ridiculous that there are ANY people who still stand in the way of it. If two people of the same sex wish to marry, why should this bother anyone? It takes nothing away from anyone else. Whatever happiness in life that others have (or don’t have), it has nothing to do with the same-sex couple down the street. Isn’t 1000 years of discrimination against same-sex couples enough?

    • Anonymous says:

      Because marriage has been defined as between man and woman, but oh no, despite civil union you want it changed when civil unions gives you the same rights. Damn you even hijacked the word gay to mean homosexual. The line has to be drawn somewhere and the constitution does that. Be happy and stop trying to hijack more words to suit your agenda.

      • 1000 years says:

        You are completely mistaken. Your side does NOT own the word “marriage”. The fact that you want exclusive rights to “marriage” for yourself, but offer only “civil unions” to us, makes it perfectly clear that you cling to a 2-class system. As long as you do, we will keep on fighting. As I asked before, why does same-sex “marriage” bother you so much? What do you care so much about something that takes NOTHING away from you? Do you think you have a monopoly on God’s word? Does your happiness depend on keeping happiness AWAY from others? Get some help, brother…

    • Anonymous says:

      50 more years with an option would suit me.

  4. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    Well here’s what I think. I want a referendum to enforce marriage between any two people that both want it. That is all.

    • Anonymous says:

      Voting on whether or not to recognize and protect minority rights, undermines the core tenet of free countries. In Cayman we have begrudgingly been ordered to allow an alternative recognition, but are not defending those that need this mechanism. Instead we are fighting them at every opportunity using public funds. Here, the AG suggests they better continue fighting!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Please Kindly Seek A Harmonious Cayman

    A week has passed since Privy Council’s 14 March judgment on same-gender marriage in our Cayman Islands. Paragraph 59 states its effect: “…this is a matter for the choice of the Legislative Assembly rather than a right laid down in the Constitution.”

    Future judgments may decide Parliament’s inaction is a choice that accepts Cayman’s 1½ year old civil partnership policy enacted through the Governor.

    Or future judgments may nullify the civil partnerships as not a choice of the Legislative Assembly because –
    – it was not enacted by the Legislative Assembly,
    – a few weeks before the Legislative Assembly defeated a similar proposal, and/or
    – Parliament’s inaction is a choice that indicates continued opposition.

    To avoid more turmoil and uncertainty on same-gender unions/marriage, Parliament should approve a bipartisan choice. Current choices seem to be (a) no same-gender civil partnerships or unions, (b) existing same-gender civil partnerships, or (c) limited or unlimited same-gender marriages. Please kindly seek a harmonious Cayman.

    • Ananomous says:

      To clarify “Parliament” means Parliament of our Cayman Islands (not UK or any other Parliament).

  6. Picky Roon says:

    Why does anyone in the Cayman Islands NEED a marriage license? Can’t a couple of any sex live together if they choose to do so?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not if they are not both Caymanian, and wish to have equal rights, and not have to live in a constant state of worrying if they’ll be able to live together after the next work permit application.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:47 Who is stopping who.

    • Anonymous says:

      Legal recognition is required for mortgage, adoption, pension, hospital visitation, living will, estate planning…all the grown up stuff.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes they can. But legally those people would be strangers to each other. You must be aware of the legal benefits of marriage or civil partnership. If not, please just Google them. That would be easier for all.

  7. Anonymous says:

    For now. It’s not over.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Could the AG be any more condescending and gloating than this! Unbelievable. It’s time for a new AG!

  9. Anonymous says:

    If a financial institution requires a Marriage Certificate for say, a routine mortgage application, and the customers provide a Civil Partnership Certificate, those customers have now identified to the bank that they are gay. The two documents are functionally similar from a legal point of view, but the bank doesn’t need to know someone’s private home/bedroom situation, or apply any subjective “Biblical” bias as a result of what they discovered during the application process. That’s not right. One Marriage Certificate standard for all would probably solve this, and eliminate any subjective indignities that heterosexual couples do not have to suffer. Those same-sex that were legally married elsewhere, would also need to redocument their union in Cayman as a civil partnership or face discrimination, and/or legal non-recognition here, which is another added hurdle to equality that heterosexuals couples do not suffer. Most of us (in 2022) don’t see what the big deal about marriage equality is. A private 15-20 minute commitment vow ceremony for anyone certainly doesn’t need to be officiated by a CIMA Minister, or necessarily include any of their congregations as witnesses. Who are the injured parties? Mind your own bees wax.

    • Anonymous says:

      Read the article fool. The answer is NO.

    • Kadafe says:

      Be proud and stand up for what you are. If you will end up feeling ashamed or embarrassed then your probably on the wrong side of the fence and aware of that fact. I know several gay persons who have no shame whatsoever with their sexuality. Moreover why would the thoughts of some random stranger matter to you?

      • Anonymous says:

        Because some bank employee then puts that application in the garbage for their own vindictive pleasure.

      • Anonymous says:

        Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. That is why. Have you seen those homophobic comments on social media any time a related article is posted? That should give you a little better idea what many people carry in their hearts. Rampant ignorance and hateful attitudes are in full display wrapped in many amens. Some of those people you never even hear say anything about anything but LGBTQ related subjects.

        • Anonymous says:

          So how is gay marriage going to fix that? The term ‘homophobic’ is applied to anyone that disagrees with homosexuality. I am not afraid of gay people, but I support the constitution. That neither makes me a ‘bigot’ (another term gay people apply) or homophobic, it simply means my opinion is different. Gay marriage or not my opinion will not change.

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