Miller: Alternatives to changing Marriage Law needed

Miller calls on church leaders to consider civil unions

As the couple fighting for equal marriage rights in the Cayman Islands mull their next legal move, church leaders are being urged to consider alternatives to their hardline position on same-sex marriages.

North Side MLA Ezzard Miller, speaking in the budget debate last week, said he wants local religious leaders to come together and find a solution before one is handed down.

“My fear has always been if we don’t do what we want to do, the United Kingdom will do what we don’t want to do, and that is tamper with our marriage law and we cannot do nothing about it,” Miller told lawmakers.

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the government when it overturned Chief Justice Anthony Smellie’s decision to rewrite the local Marriage Law to pave the way for same-sex couple Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush to get married here.

The Court of Appeal, in its decision, ordered the government to bring legislation instituting equal rights for same-sex couples and, if it does not, then the UK should intervene.
Day and Bodden Bush have since said they are considering appealing to the Privy Council for a resolution.

Miller, an independent Opposition MLA, maintained his support for civil unions, and said he will continue do so.

“If I lose the election because of that, so be it. That’s my position and that is a considered position; that is not a flippant position. I challenge the churches, if you are not going to support an alternative, what are you going to support?” Miller said.

In pledging his support for any legislation government proposes on civil unions, Miller said, it must include Cayman common law marriages.

“We have to give them all the same rights and benefits that married people get and scoop it up into one,” Miller said.

The North Side MLA urged church leaders to draw upon their Christian teachings when reflecting on the same-sex issue.

“My Christianity tells me I must have tolerance, compassion, inclusion and prudence in my decisions about other people and their own chosen life, whatever that might be. All I am asking the churches to do is let’s look at those principles and let’s come together and support the kind of legislation that offers an alternative to the kind of quagmire that we are in,” Miller said.

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  1. We in the LGBTQ community appreciate that Mr. Miller is trying to be supportive, but please understand that anything less than complete equality merely continues the thinking that there are two classes of citizens — the “better” citizens, who get “marriage”, and the “lesser” citizens, who get “civil unions”. For heaven’s sake, we’re arguing about a word here — “marriage”. As many have already said, NO ONE owns a word. We are ALL human beings. We ALL deserve equal protection under the law. We ALL deserve “marriage” rights. Look how many countries have already come to understand this — and in none of them did the sky come falling down because of it. It’s time for Cayman to enter the modern era and leave the 1500s behind. To Chantelle and Vickie, I say, more power to you! I hope you and your legal team decide to take this matter to the Privy Council so that the recent [deleted] ruling by the Appeals Court can be overturned.