All British Overseas Territories could be forced to recognise same-sex marriages after a lesbian couple won their case in the Cayman Islands. The ruling is being deemed a “victory for equality” and will give same-sex couples in the Cayman Islands the right to marry and it is hoped that it will have knock-on events for Northern Ireland.
Chantelle Day and her fiancee Vickie Bodden Bush have been together since 2012 and are parents to a young daughter. They were denied the right to marry because and the Carribean islands had refused to recognise overseas marriages or civil unions between same-sex couples.
With this ruling, this discrimination will end after a judge ruled that the Cayman Islands Constitution requires that same-sex couples have the right to wed and that couples who are married overseas have their marriage legally recognised.
Following this ruling, the Marriage Law in the Cayman Islands has now been modified with immediate effect.
The Cayman Islands equal marriage judgment ‘good news for Northern Ireland couples’
Campaigners for Marriage Equality in Northern Ireland say the LGBT+ community should be “encouraged” by a landmark legal judgement in the Cayman Islands which legalised same-sex marriage in the British Overseas Territory (BOT).
Campaigners in Northern Ireland should be buoyed by the judgment, according to the Love Equality campaign, which is urging a similar change to marriage laws in Northern Ireland. The coalition believes it brings into sharp focus the UK government’s refusal to remedy this human rights issue.
Ciaran Moynagh, member of the Love Equality consortium and human rights lawyer said:
“I am delighted with this judgment for couples in the Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories. However many people will wonder how the British Government and legal system can facilitate same-sex marriage in a jurisdiction 4,802 miles away, but they cannot remedy this issue in the UK itself.
“In reaction to the case, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said, “the UK believes that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which all citizens can play a full, equal and active part.” Surely it is fair to ask, yet again, why the government refuses to take a coordinated approach to equality and provide equality for all.
“It is vital we remember the UK still does not have marriage equality,” Mr Moynagh said. “Arguments based around ‘devolution’ and ‘national autonomy’ have clearly been debunked by the decision to force a change in the laws of British Overseas Territories.”
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