A total of 26 couples have registered civil partnerships in the Cayman Islands in the six months since the legal framework to formalise same-sex relationships was enacted last September.

The framework was created through the enactment of the Civil Partnerships Law by Governor Martyn Roper.

According to statistics shared with the Cayman Compass from the registrar of civil partnerships, 19 couples had their relationships recognised under the law between 28 Sept. and 31 Dec. 2020.

In 2021, seven couples have registered their civil partnership as of 9 Feb.

The Civil Partnership Law was assented to by the governor back in September, days after similar legislation, the Domestic Partnership Bill, was voted down by Cayman’s lawmakers. Roper used his reserve powers.

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Civil Partnership registrations
28 Sept – 31 Dec 2020           19

01 Jan – 9 Feb 2021                7

He said, as the UK’s representative in Cayman, he had no option but to step in to ensure Cayman complied with the rule of law and international obligations under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Cayman, he said, is required to provide a legal framework for same-sex couples that is functionally equivalent to marriage.

Kattina Anglin

Local activist Kattina Anglin is seeking judicial review of Governor Roper’s decision to assent to the law, calling the move an unlawful use of his emergency powers. That case is still pending.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday the issue of same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands will head to the Privy Council as Caymanian couple Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush’s challenge of the Court of Appeal’s decision in their case.

The couple is seeking the right to get married in Cayman.

The five-member UK-based council will be looking at two specific issues in the same-sex marriage appeal.

The first, based on the case’s summary, is “Does the Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the Cayman Islands require that the Marriage Law of the Cayman Islands be interpreted so as to define ‘marriage’ to include the union of same-sex couples?”

Chantelle Day, left, and Vickie Bodden Bush – Photo: Taneos Ramsay

The panel of law lords will also consider “if same-sex couples are instead only entitled to legal protection which is functionally equivalent to marriage, have the Government and Governor of the Cayman Islands unlawfully failed to put that protection into effect?”

Day and Bodden Bush challenged the local Marriage Law after the deputy registrar refused their application for a marriage licence in 2018.

It was rejected on the basis that the Marriage Law defines marriage as “the union between a man and a woman as husband and wife”. That denial triggered a near three-year battle for the couple which will reach its conclusion with the Privy Council’s decision.

On Wednesday’s episode of Compass’s Facebook talkshow The Resh Hour, which starts at 6pm, LGBTQ activist Leonardo Raznovich will be live to discuss the case and its implications for Cayman.

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