Colours Caribbean will be picking up the cause of 26 couples who have registered their civil partnerships as the local not-for-profit organisation has “taken steps to join” a judicial review case filed by Kattina Anglin.
Leonardo Raznovich, attorney for Colours, confirmed that the advocacy group plans to join the case as an interested party.
Anglin’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of Governor Martyn Roper’s use of Section 81 of the Constitution to enact the Civil Partnerships Law.
Speaking on the Cayman Compass weekly talk show ‘The Resh Hour’ on 24 Feb., Raznovich said couples who will be directly impacted by the outcome of the case have already agreed to join the legal challenge, and he is appealing for other couples to come forward.
“Whether they are same-sex or heterosexual couples, you have an interest at stake. You need to make sure that you have your voice heard in the court in this process. You have accrued rights and therefore Colours Caribbean is going to become a third party in this matter. We have been asked by six or seven couples to represent them and so there are still… 18 or 19 couples out there that have not contacted us,” he said.
Anglin, of the Christian Association for Civics, filed the application for judicial review on the grounds the governor’s use of his reserved power in enacting the Civil Partnership Law was “unlawful” and “irrational”.
Grand Court Judge Richard Williams heard the ex-parte (meaning ‘on behalf of one party’) application on 17 Nov. on the matter and approved it to move to the next stage for hearing. A date for the case is yet to be set.
Concerns were raised by Colours after the ruling in the case was only made public months after it was determined.
Williams, in a statement, denied withholding his ruling from the public, instead saying it was an administrative error that delayed the release.
Raznovich did not accept those arguments.
“It is rather shocking that the decision was kept secret for two months. According to Justice Williams, it was just a mistake… Really? … It is rather questionable the legal grounds on which he is acting,” he said.
Raznovich added that the judicial review case presents an opportunity to remove the rights couples have attained through the legislation brought into force by Roper last year.
He said the court could find that Section 81 did not confer the power for the governor “to do what he has done and then we have a lacuna… a gap again because all the laws that the governor passed will immediately fall. If he acted contrary to Section 81, those laws would immediately lose [their] validity.”
This would severely impact couples already registered under the law, he said, adding that “26 couples have already planned their lives. They might have financial commitments, insurance in place… all those things are going to collapse. I mean immigration rights… adoptions.”