(CMR) Governor Martyn Roper did not err, but was entitled to exercise his reserved power and enact the Civil Partnership Act 2020, the Grand Court has ruled after Kattina Anglin requested a judicial review of the Governor's decision.
Anglin, the founder of the Christian Association for Civics (CAC), had taken the Governor of the Cayman Islands to court after he invoked his powers under section 81 of the Cayman Islands Constitution to legalize civil partnerships. She believed his use of section 81 of the Constitution to enact the law was unconstitutional.
Governor Roper had implemented the CPA after the then Cayman Islands Legislative Assembly failed to do so. This was set in motion after the Court of Appeal ruled in the case of Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden-Bush that same-sex marriage was not legal in the Cayman Islands. The Court had issued directives for the government to find a solution.
The CPA allows both opposite-sex and same-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership. It also amends various pre-existing legislation, thereby conferring on civil partners a large number of rights and obligations corresponding to those of a marriage.
According to the judgment delivered on Monday, 28 March, “It is also evident from the evidence that the Overseas Territories and the Cayman Islands negotiators would have understood that the UK Government's position was consistent with an approach that, if a territory continued to fail to address compliance with an international obligation of the UK, the Constitution provisions would enable the Secretary of State (the Governor) to take on that role in its place to ensure such compliance.”
According to court documents, the Governor, having ensured that the checks and balances set out in s.81 of the Constitution were followed, was entitled to exercise his reserved power and enact the CPA.
The court documents also stated that “the preferred approach in London, no doubt, was, and remains, for the government of each Overseas Territory to act itself, by recognizing the responsibility placed upon it to enact internal legislation to conform with applicable obligations arising out of international treaties like the ECHR.