Gay marriage no longer taboo in Cayman Islands

Chief Justice, Anthony Smellie, QC, J.P., LLD
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A female couple in the Cayman Islands decided that if at first they couldn’t succeed, they would try again.

Motivated by that popular adage one year after they were refused application and permission to marry, a re-trial of the procedure proved successful allowing them to amend the laws of the British territory. Their successful request was approved when Chief Justice Anthony Smellie ruled that the practice of denying applications for same-sex unions were in violation of the constitution.

He added that the fact the law specifically defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman it had also imposed “indignity, inequality of treatment and inequality of legal status upon same sex couples.”

On seeing the petition filed by Vickie Bodden Bush and Chantelle Day, Judge Smellie ordered a rewrite of the Cayman Islands law, which forbids homosexual unions but also guarantees freedom from discrimination and other inclusive privileges.

“By its ongoing refusal to recognize and respect these rights of the petitioners, the state has been and remains in violation of their rights,” he said.

He specifically targeted the clause in the law that defines marriage — reserved for heterosexual couples.

He ordered a rewrite with an amendment stating that: “‘Marriage means the union between two people as one another’s spouses.”

His ruling was immediately effective with approval from the couple, their friends and family.

They gushed saying the ruling was right and that despite the ordeal of the process “love wins.”

Samuel Bulgin, attorney general seemed more contemplative about the decision.

He called the landmark decision “very interesting.”

“The government will have to take some time to consider it and think about how to move forward,” he said.

Meanwhile buggery laws apply in nine Caribbean countries with penalties of up to 10 years in jail.

In most cases the law applies to men. In Grenada and St. Kitts females are exempt from criminal punishment.

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