Cayman’s lawmakers today voted nine votes to eight against passing the Domestic Partnership Bill, which would have given same-sex couples the right to enter into a union equivalent to marriage.
Immediately after the bill was defeated, Governor Martyn Roper issued a statement saying that he was “greatly concerned” that lawmakers had not passed the bill and that UK government ministers would look into the implications of the failure of the bill to pass.
He described this as a “sad day for the rule of law in the Cayman Islands”.
Following two and a half days of sometimes emotive debate, legislators took a vote on the bill around 1:15pm, moments after Premier Alden McLaughlin, who had introduced the proposed legislation on Monday, made his closing comment.
How the House would vote had become clear by Tuesday evening, and McLaughlin anticipated the outcome in his final remarks, saying it was a “disappointing end” to the bill.
How they voted
- Juliana O’Connor-Connolly: No
- Dwayne Seymour: No
- Eugene Ebanks: No
- Arden McLean: No
- Alva Suckoo: No
- Kenneth Bryan: No
- Anthony Eden: No
- Bernie Bush: No
- Chris Saunders: No
- Alden McLaughlin: Yes
- Moses Kirkconnell: Yes
- Roy McTaggart: Yes
- Joey Hew: Yes
- Tara Rivers: Yes
- David Wight: Yes
- Austin Harris: Yes
- Ezzard Miller: Yes
West Bay North MLA and the official Speaker of the House McKeeva Bush was not present for the debate or the vote as he is on a leave of absence. Barbara Conolly has taken his place as Speaker and as such could only vote in the event of a tie.
Following the vote, McLaughlin, in a message to the Compass, said, “My grandfather used to say ‘Do your duty and be blessed or do your duty and be damned, but do your duty.’ I have done my duty.”
During the debate, the premier and other speakers supporting the bill repeatedly indicated that if the Cayman Islands legislature failed to address the lack of legislation regarding legal same-sex partnerships, then the UK would be forced to step in and impose such a law.
McLaughlin told legislators, “The UK is hugely embarrassed that the Court of Appeal has found it necessary to call on them to act… because of our continuing failure as a legislature to do so.”
Although the premier had said lawmakers could vote their conscience on the bill, he expressed disappointment that a number of his own government members had voted against the proposed legislation. Among those were Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly; Health Minister Dwayne Seymour; and Councillor of Environment and Housing Eugene Ebanks.