(CMR) The landmark Grand Court decision on Friday by Justice Smellie has led to a battle of the wills after two dueling petitions have now been started. In his decision he ruled that same sex marriages; which are currently not permissible under the current Marriage Law are now legal and that the legislative should make the necessary changes to various pieces of legislative to conform.
In a clear message that there has to be some separation of church and state he ruled that institutions and ways of thinking that have been justified as “tradition” have historically also been used to support actions like slavery and apartheid. However, this has not stopped the Christian community from indicating that they support fully ignoring the ruling and demanding a “people initiative referendum” before December 2019.
For its part, the Cayman Islands Government has been routinely quiet on the matter. The judge was careful to point out in his summary decision that the petitioners sought alternative measures from the elected officials by writing to Premier Alden McLaughlin. However, after receiving no response from him they were advised by then Governor Helen Kilpatrick to seek recourse from the courts; which they did.
Leading up to the court battle the ruling government indicated they were prepared to allow the courts to decide the country's fate on same sex marriages. Interesting, Opposition Leader Ezzard Miller noted he supported them getting ahead of the matter and allow for same sex civil partnerships. It was agreed by the vast majority of legal heads that there was no legal argument that could be made against civil partnerships. In fact, during the course of the trial the government's imported QC largely agreed with this position.
Now that the Grand Court has made it's decision the elected members have continued to officially remain silent on the matter. However, some messages have reached CMR that they are telling the voters that they have no intentions of changing the various laws and adhering to the court's decision. It has also been suggested that they are quietly pushing the petition calling for a people initiative referendum.
The first petition was started on Saturday and seeks to call on the Members of the Legislative Assembly to have a people initiative referendum by December 2019. The second petition was started just this morning and is calling on the government to accept the court's decision.
One person noted that:
“We have wasted sufficient time and resources on this when we are faced with more important issues that demand our attention. The government is subversively playing games with an issue they cannot ultimately win and will force the UK government to step in and issue an Order in Council. The irony of Christians fighting for the institution of marriage that pre-existed their own religious believes is not lost on us.”
An Order in Council is legislation that is formally made in the name of the Queen by and with the advice and consent of the Privy Council, and would change the laws for us. Since Cayman is still an overseas territory of the Cayman Islands this would be the likely result.