Cayman Islands same-sex marriage legal after court ruling

cayman islands same-sex marriage lesbian couple
Photo: Jonathan Cooper/Twitter

Same-sex marriage has become legal in the Cayman Islands following a landmark ruling in a court case brought by a lesbian couple.

Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush (pictured above) went to court after they were refused permission to marry in the British Overseas Territory last year.

But Chief Justice in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, Anthony Smellie, determined the action was discriminatory and violated the Cayman Islands’ constitution.

“The petitioners and their daughter are entitled to the indignities to which they have been subjected being put to an immediate end by the court,” he said in his judgement, adding that same-sex marriages strengthen the institution of marriage, not weaken it, the Cayman Compass reported.

“The possible desires of the heterosexual majority to maintain a perceived tradition of marriage of its liking or to impose dominant religious beliefs on the homosexual minority, cannot, as the extensive survey of the case law has shown, constitute valid justification.”

The ruling comes after Bermuda legalised marriage equality following a similar ruling in the country’s Supreme Court.

Four other Caribbean British Overseas Territories which do not permit same-sex marriage or civil partnerships – Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands – and the ruling may have flow-on effects, Day and Bush’s lawyers said.

Barrister Jonathan Cooper, who was on the couple’s legal team, said Britian’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) should insist all its overseas territories recognise same-sex relationships in law.

“Chantelle and Vickie should not have been forced to litigate in order to have their relationship recognised in law,” he said.

“When will this government put its money where its mouth is and mainstream LGBT equality across the board? The FCO could and should have insisted that all British Overseas Territories recognise LGBT relationships in law.

“It’s brilliant what Chantelle and Vickie have achieved, but it’s also demeaning to have to compel your government to recognise your love.”

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