It is great news for the LGBT community in the Cayman Islands as a court has ruled that the government had no right to refuse a marriage license to Chantelle Day and her partner, Vickie Bodden Bush.
Openly is reporting that the couple went to court after they were refused permission to marry last year. The judge, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie, in his ruling said the move was a violation of the constitution and has ordered changes to the law that restricts marriage to heterosexual couples.
Their lawyer, Peter Laverack (who had also represented Jason Jones in his landmark case in Trinidad), shared the news in a series of tweets
1/5 Judgment today in #CaymanIslands #equalmarriage case. For my clients, Chantelle & Vickie, we argued for marriage but civil partnership as minimum. Cayman is a #UK OverseasTerritory. #ECHR applies. Per #ECtHR in Oliari, offering no institution violates art.8. pic.twitter.com/WwNWOB1X32— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
2/5 We said #equalmarriage is required; anything else violates #humanrights to #equality non-discrimination, private & family life, & freedom of conscience. Re civil partnership, just see Oliari.— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
3/5 State said Constitution defines marriage as man+woman. Unconstitutional for Court or legislature to give #equalmarriage. I.e. it DELIBERATELY discriminates against #LGBTQ #LGBT. (NB it’s a #Westminster statute. We said, if so, Foreign Office faces JR in London.)— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
4/5 We said look to #CommonLaw courts, not #EuropeanCourt. Common Law constitutions protect more than #ECHR on this issue, per decisions of @USSupreme_Court, South Africa, Canada & Bermuda.— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
5/5 Current stats: 14 of UK’s 20 jurisdictions offer #equalmarriage. Only the 5 #Caribbean OTs don’t + #NorthernIreland. Those 5 OT have no civil partnership either. Maths about to change? Heading to the #GrandCourt now. Update you soon… pic.twitter.com/pyd13XzijG— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
Same-sex marriage is now lawful in the #CaymanIslands !! #EqualMarriage #lgbt #LoveIsLove Congratulations to my clients Chantelle & Vickie. Pleasure to have been junior counsel to Ed Fitzgerald QC @DoughtyStreet and Ben Tonner QC— Peter Laverack (@peter_laverack) March 29, 2019
Attorney General Samuel Bulgin represented the government in the suit and Cayman27 is reporting that he finds the judgement “interesting” and that the government will consider how to move forward.
The legal team for the couple said the ruling could have consequences for four other Caribbean British Overseas Territories that don’t permit same-sex marriage or civil partnerships. They are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands.