An appeals court in the Cayman Islands has sided with the government and overturned a landmark court ruling on same-sex marriage in the country.
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.
The couple argued the marriage law’s definition as a union between a man and a woman breached their constitutionally protected human rights.
Then on March 29 this year, a judge accepted their arguments, modifying the marriage law with immediate effect to allow same-sex marriage.
However, the government launched an appeal and the Court of Appeals has ruled in the government’s favour.
The appeals court found the earlier ruling relied too heavily on other countries’ decisions on same-sex marriage, the Cayman Compass reported.
And the European Court of Human Rights doesn’t recognise marriage as a human right, the judges ruled.
However the appeals court did demand the government offer civil unions to same-sex couples as soon as possible to give them “legal status equivalent to marriage”.
“It’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Legislative Assembly has been doing all it can to avoid facing up to its legal obligations,” the judges wrote.
“Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush are entitled, expeditiously, to legal protection in the Cayman Islands, which is functionally equivalent to marriage.
“It would be wholly unacceptable for this declaration to be ignored.”
The Cayman Islands is an autonomous British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea.
The appeal judges said if the government fails to legislate civil unions, the UK government should intervene.
‘Sad day’ for Cayman Islands LGBTIQ community
Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin said the government likely won’t deal with the issue until early next year.
The couple at the center of the case said they would consider the court’s judgment and decide their next move.
Local lawyer and activist Leonardo Raznovich told the Compass, “It is a sad day for Caymanians because their constitution has not been properly upheld by their own courts.”
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