Same-sex marriage fight to go to Privy Council

Chantelle Day, left, and Vickie Bodden Bush with their lawyer Ben Tonner QC.

Lawyers acting for a same-sex couple contesting Cayman’s marriage laws have confirmed plans to take their fight to the UK Privy Council.

Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush won their initial court fight to be granted the right to marry in Cayman, but that decision was overturned by the Court of Appeal, which ruled that Cayman’s Constitution preserved marriage for opposite-sex couples only.

The appeals court ruled that government was obliged to provide the couple, and all same-sex couples, with rights ‘equivalent to marriage’ and instructed government to introduce legislation to that effect. Attorney General Samuel Bulgin indicated last week that legislation for civil partnerships is being drafted.

Attorney Ben Tonner, QC, who represents Day and Bodden Bush, confirmed Wednesday that an application had been filed with the Court of Appeal for final leave to apply to the Privy Council in the UK. Once this is granted, the legal team will be able to file the appeal.

He said they would seek to challenge the appeals court’s decision in the higher court.

“It will be submitted that the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal should have interpreted the Constitution in a manner which protects and promotes fundamental rights and freedoms (as the Chief Justice did) rather than adopting an approach which does the very opposite,” Tonner told the Cayman Compass in an email.

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  1. Hooray for Chantelle and Vickie and their attorney Ben Tonner. May they achieve a total victory at the UK Privy Council. And shame on all the Cayman politicians and ministers who stand in the way of equality. They are on the wrong side of fairness — and history.