Cayman Islands Government Appealing Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Five days after the Chief Justice rewrote legislation to make same-sex marriage legal in the Cayman Islands, the government has announced it will appeal the ruling.

Premier Alden McLaughlin told Parliament today that the government has instructed Attorney General Samuel Bulgin to file an appeal with the Court of Appeal and seek a stay of execution of the judgment pending the outcome of that appeal.

Last Friday, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie amended the Marriage Law in his judgment on a case brought by Caymanian Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush, whose application to get married was refused last April. He said that preventing those persons from accessing marriage and the suite of rights that come with it was a clear violation of freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution, including the right to a private and family life, the right to freedom of conscience, and the right to freedom from discrimination.

The ruling, which took immediate effect, was for the clause in the law that specifies marriage is reserved for heterosexual couples to be amended to state that: “Marriage means the union between two people as one another’s spouses.”

Premier McLaughlin said appealing the ruling was not a decision the government had taken lightly. But he said Smellie’s judgment had brought about significant ambiguity surrounding the Constitution and Bill of Rights and the interpretation of and ability of the Court to amend other laws should similar applications be made. Read more via Caribbean 360