Cayman Islands Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

The Cayman Islands has legalised same-sex marriage after a court ruled that its gay wedding ban was unconstitutional. 

The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and Jamaica. Despite abundant natural beauty and wall-to-wall sunshine, the islands are probably best known as being a tax haven for the super-rich.

Last week, the islands were put on the map for something altogether more heart-warming: the right for individuals to marry regardless of sexuality.

Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden applied to be married in 2018 but were turned down on account of their sexuality.  According to Reuters, Chantelle Day was denied a spousal visa and was not recognised as the legal mother of the couple’s adopted daughter. What the case proves is that legalising same-sex marriage isn’t only about allowing two people to become wife and wife or husband and husband but about giving couples access to the raft of spousal benefits and legal entitlements that heterosexual couples often take for granted. 

Reuters goes on to say that the ruling could have implications for more of Britain’s overseas territories – especially those in the Caribbean.  Four of them -- Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and Turks and Caicos Islands don’t even allow civil partnerships.

In 2018, Bermuda – another British Overseas Territory – overruled a court decision to legalise gay marriage.  This not only gave the island the dubious honour of being the first place in the world to reverse same-sex marriage, but it put the British Government in a difficult position.  Campaigners wondered how Britain could maintain its self-proclaimed reputation as a world leader for LGBTQ rights whilst allowing its own territories to continue discriminating against gay couples.

The Government maintains that it does not interfere with the domestic legislation of its territories.

With legal challenges cutting through political and religious prejudices about same-sex marriage, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out with other neighbouring territories.

We wish Chantelle and Vickie all the best for planning their wedding and we’d like to thank them, too, for their persistence and perseverance in bringing this case to court and allowing other couples the chance to marry. 

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