Cayman Islands launches legal bid to ban same-sex marriage

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Same-sex marriage was legalised in the Cayman Islands earlier this year.

The government of the Cayman Islands have launched a legal bid to ban same-sex marriage, after a judge ruled them to be legal back in March.

In his initial ruling, Chief Justice Anthony Smellie said: “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.”

Back in April, the premier of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, spoke against the ruling. “I and my entire government have great respect for the chief justice and indeed the independence of the judiciary,” he said in a statement.

“But even the best judges get it wrong from time to time. Hard cases make bad law. None of us who are human are infallible.

“As premier I will state what I have said many times before – I have no doubt that the feelings of the majority of Caymanians are that marriage should retain its traditional and religious definition and meaning, the union of one man and one woman.”

Jonathan Cooper, a lawyer in the initial case was scathing about the government attempting to appeal. “Marriage is a fundamental human right,” he told Reuters.

“It feels highly inappropriate to force [the couple] through a further appeal process, when the chief justice in the case in the high court was clear that they were entitled to marry.”

So far, Bermuda is the only country in the world to ban same-sex marriage after legalising it. However, in a later ruling, Bermuda’s Court of Appeal ruled that same-sex marriage would remain legal.

Maryellen Jackson and Roderick Ferguson, who fought the ruling, said in a joint statement: “Speaking for ourselves and on behalf of gay and lesbian Bermudians, we are grateful for the court’s decision, and its recognition of the significance of marriage in supporting and protecting our families.

“Equality under the law is every Bermudian’s birthright. Bermuda’s LGBTQ community is strong and proud. When our voices join together, we will be heard, and we will continue to make progress.”

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