About 120 people gathered in front of the Government Administration Building on Saturday afternoon to protest against the Domestic Partnership Bill.
The bill was defeated in the Legislative Assembly, with 9 to 8 votes, on 29 July.
However, on 5 Aug. Governor Martyn Roper announced he would use his reserved power under section 81 of the Constitution to assent to the bill after a 21-day consultation period. The public consultation ends on 31 Aug.
Protestors formed a line from the Government Administration Building to the Legislative Assembly, waving placards with messages against same-sex marriage and the Domestic Partnership Bill and in favour of Biblical values, God’s word, family and “the rule of law that upholds natural marriage alone”.
The event was organised by the Christian Association for Civics. Organiser Kattina Anglin said she was very pleased with the turnout.
She said, “We are here because we believe in the biblical definition of marriage and therefore the construct of unions and relationships being one man and one woman, as written in our Constitution and found in our Marriage Law, is the way our country is governed.”
Anglin said, “I am very, very understanding of persons who are engaged in same-sex relationships and understand their plight. But I can’t allow my law and the family construct to be changed because some people have their views on how things are supposed to work.”
She said the protesters stood for what is best for the overall majority of people.
Anglin said the governor was wrong to bring the bill again because the UK government had previously reiterated multiple times that it would not intervene in the Overseas Territories in marital matters. She added that the case is also still on appeal before the Privy Council.
The UK government’s statements were made before Cayman’s Court of Appeal overturned a Grand Court decision that granted same-sex couples the right to marry.
The court upheld the Constitution’s definition of marriage as a union between an “unmarried man and woman of marriageable age”. But it also held that the petitioners in the case were entitled to legal protection in the Cayman Islands, “which is functionally equivalent to marriage”.
The Domestic Partnership Bill aims to establish this legal protection and the right to a civil union alternative for same-sex couples.
The Court of Appeal found that in the interim Cayman is in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and its own Bill of Rights, which implemented the convention rights almost word for word in Cayman’s Constitution.
Governor Roper called the Legislative Assembly vote against the Domestic Partnership Bill “a sad day for the rule of law”.
Section 81 of the Constitution allows the governor to bring legislation he deems needed in the interest of matters within his responsibility, if Cabinet or the Legislative Assembly is unlikely or unwilling to do so.