Premier Alden McLaughlin believes the United Kingdom will now decide to retain section 81 of the Cayman Islands Constitution, according to a press release issued Thursday by the Premier’s Office.
Section 81 gives the governor the ability to enact legislation if it appears Cabinet is unwilling to introduce a bill to the Legislative Assembly or that lawmakers appear unwilling to pass a bill.
“The failure of the Legislative Assembly to do its duty last Wednesday has set back our efforts at increased autonomy immeasurably,” McLaughlin said.
The UK previously agreed to remove the section as part of pending Constitutional changes.
Lawmakers last week shot down the Domestic Partnership Bill, 9-8. The bill aimed to provide a legal equivalent of marriage for same-sex couples while keeping the legal definition of marriage between a man and a woman.
“The matter at hand was not one that was up for public consultation or debate.”
Governor Martyn Roper announced Wednesday he will push through the Domestic Partnership Bill that was debated in the LA.
“The result is that some version of the Domestic Partnership Bill will become law in a few weeks without further reference to the Legislative Assembly,” the premier said. “What form this law will take is now beyond our control and will be decided by the UK and the Governor. This is a very shameful event and one that should have been avoided.”
The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal last year overturned a lower court ruling permitting same-sex marriages in Cayman but, at the same time, mandated legislators provide a framework for same-sex couples to enjoy the same legal benefits of married couples. In his debate contribution, McLaughlin and other lawmakers warned the UK would step in should the bill fail, saying the issue is about respecting a court mandate and not one of personal or religious beliefs.
“The matter at hand was not one that was up for public consultation or debate,” he said.
“Those members of the House who are now seeking to deflect responsibility by pretending that this declaration of the court is merely akin to a suggestion are woefully wrong.”
Click here here for the Premier’s full statement.