Cayman Islands Gov’t to appeal same sex marriage ruling

(CNS) – The Cayman Islands government Wednesday said it would appeal a ruling last week by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie that the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman was unconstitutional and violated multiple rights.

“Mr. Speaker, let me say here that in appealing the government is cognizant that there is no guarantee or certainty as to how the Court of Appeal will rule. However, we believe it is critical that the country has the benefit of clarification on these very important constitutional issues,” Premier Alden McLoughlin told legislators.

“I wish to note that I am painfully aware that the issue of same sex marriage is an emotive one in our Islands. I am also very conscious that this is an issue with real people who have real lives and there are emotions and feelings involved and that this is not merely some text book case.

“I and the government have no intention of causing any harm or hurt to the petitioners but we must ensure that in seeking what they deem protections and rights under the law that a door is not opened that may impinge on other protections and rights,” he said.

Attorney Ben Tonner, who represented the couple – Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden  who had last year applied to get married in the islands but were turned down – said that his clients were “delighted that their relationship has been recognised at long last.

In his ruling, the Chief Justice ordered that section 2 of the Marriage Law be changed to state that “marriage” means “the union between two people as one another’s spouses.