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Fri Mar 29, 2019, 04:27 PM


Cayman Islands Supreme Court Rules For Marriage Equality

Aside from its common perception as a tax haven, the Cayman Islands used to be an administrative unit of Jamaica. When Jamaica proceeded toward independence, the Cayman Islands (Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, and Cayman Brac) became a semi-autonomous British Overseas Territory. It has its own constitution, legislature and executive government, but is overseen by a Governor appointed by the Crown.

Because of the prominence of the financial industry, and the fact that many international banks and law firms rotate employees through Cayman (you can work there for 7 years as an expat, with the appropriate permit) from the UK and Canada, where marriage is between all persons, a problem had started to arise with married employees of foreign banks being able to get their spouses a residence permit on the basis of being the spouse of a person there on a work permit.

So, the first problem to tackle was carving out a limited exception to their immigration laws by which same sex spouses of foreign nationals present in the islands on a work permit would be recognized as spouses for the purpose of a residence permit. Otherwise, this would have caused a real problem with workplace equality rules for the banks themselves.

However, more recently, a Caymanian who was employed in the UK met her partner there, and sought to return to Cayman and obtain Caymanian status for her partner by marrying in Cayman.

This has caused no shortage of interesting discussion in Cayman which, like much of the Caribbean, is not what one would consider to be a welcoming society in that regard. Unlike Jamaica, in which gay sexual relations remain illegal and there is considerable violence against gays, Cayman has eliminated criminal penalties and is generally has more of an "act straight in public" level of tolerance. There are some 50,000 inhabitants of Cayman, and it's more like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else and has to get along somehow.

But after much hand-wringing, Bible-thumping and the usual things that go along with it, Chief Justice Smellie (yes, his name is Smellie) has finally ruled on the case of Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush....


BREAKING: Chief Justice rules same-sex marriage is legal

Chief Justice Smellie ordered in his ruling that section 2 of the Marriage Law be changed to state “‘Marriage’ means the union between two people as one another’s spouses.”

He stated: “This Court is … bound not to allow the violation of the Petitioners’ rights to continue without redress. The Constitution, in its mandatory requirement that the Law be brought into conformity, must prevail. 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.”

The couple’s attorney, Ben Tonner, issued this statement after the ruling: “Chantelle and Vickie are delighted that their relationship has been recognised at long last. The Chief Justice’s decision demonstrates in unequivocal terms that the rule of law and the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom are alive and well in the Cayman Islands.”

And if you are a fan of "local news comment sections", this site gets the cream of the crop in Cayman:


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Reply Cayman Islands Supreme Court Rules For Marriage Equality (Original post)
jberryhill Mar 2019 OP
RKP5637 Mar 2019 #1
Eugene Mar 2019 #2

Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 04:33 PM

1. K&R!!! n/t

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Response to jberryhill (Original post)

Fri Mar 29, 2019, 04:38 PM

2. Congratulations and best wishes to the couple. 🏳️‍🌈

Every bit of progress in the region helps.

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