(CMR) In response to the Privy Council ruling that same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands is illegal, Governor Martyn Roper said the Judgment clarifies a point of law. However, Mr. Roper said it is now up to the Government if it wishes to introduce same-sex marriage in Cayman.
Noting that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United Kingdom and in several UK Overseas Territories, Mr. Roper stated:
“Going forward, it is a policy matter for the elected Government as to whether it now wishes to introduce same-sex marriage in Cayman. That would provide equality between heterosexual and same sex couples.”
“The Privy Council Judgment clarifies a point of law. It ruled that the Court of Appeal was correct in its approach to the interpretation of the Bill of Rights and that it cannot be construed as including a right for same-sex couples to marry. I note that clarification on an important constitutional matter,” Governor Roper said in a statement on Monday following the Judgment issued earlier by the PC.
Mr. Roper said while some welcomed the Judgment, others have been left disappointed.
“I know that many in our community who have strong religious beliefs on this matter will welcome the Judgment, but I recognize that Chantelle and Vickie, and many others in our community, will be very disappointed by the outcome. I must pay tribute to Chantelle and Vickie for their courage and determination in standing up for their rights over the last five years. They have inspired many through their actions,” he continued.
He pointed out that although the case for same-sex marriage was not accepted, the Cayman Islands does have legislation that grants legal protection to same-sex couples, which is functionally equivalent to marriage.
Up to the end of 2021, 47 couples have used that legislation to enter into a Civil Partnership and have their rights recognized in law. That includes many heterosexuals as well as same-sex couples, he explained.
“It would seem to me that everyday life in our community was not affected by Civil Partnership legislation. But it is important to those who have entered into Civil Partnerships. We owe it to all to create a safe environment for people to be who they want to be,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to continue to show acceptance, respect, and tolerance towards others. That will make us even stronger as a community,” Mr. Roper urged.