Arguments concluded Monday (11 February) in a landmark Grand Court case challenge to Cayman’s ban on same-sex marriage.
Petitioners Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush must now wait for Chief Justice Hon. Anthony Smellie’s ruling.
The Honourable Chief Justice retired to make his decision Monday afternoon after three days of arguments in what will undoubtedly be regarded as a landmark ruling.
QC Edward Fitzgerald, on behalf of the petitioners, told the court that ‘time has been called on discrimination based on sexual orientation.’
On the respondents’ side, QC Sir Jeffrey Jowell argued that – right or wrong – the intent of the constitution is to ensure that marriage remains between one man and one woman.
Sir Jeffrey also called into question whether sexual orientation is, in fact, an ‘immutable characteristic’ deserving protected status from discrimination.
QC Fitzgerald argued that even if one’s sexuality is a matter of choice, it is protected under the law.
QC Ben Tonner issued a statement Monday afternoon on behalf of Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush.
“There is dignity in the bond between two people, whatever their sexual orientation. This fact has been recognized time and time again by the highest courts across the common law world. The petitioners have done no more than to ask the Grand Court to recognize and give effect to their fundamental right, as human beings, to dignity and equality of treatment,” read Mr. Tonner’s statement in part.
Ms. Day also took to social media Monday afternoon with some words of her own, using the hashtag love wins.
“Job done, now we wait for the judgment (a few weeks from now). Thanks to everyone who messaged or came down to support us – we feel so proud to have taken this step and it wouldn’t be possible without our incredible legal team, donors, certain family members and friends! We’ll keep you posted on the outcome!” read Ms. Day’s social media post.
Among the two dozen or so in the gallery were a contingent of persons in defense of traditional marriage, i.e. between one man and one woman, including Bishop Nicholas Sykes.
Rev. Sykes told Cayman 27 says the Cayman Islands constitution should be respected.
“In some of the things that I heard, it was if they were subjugating the legislature to the judiciary, and I certainly hope that doesn’t have to happen here, or indeed in any place because that would be a thoroughly anti-democratic thing,” said Rev. Sykes.
Now, the case is in the hands of the Honourable Chief Justice, who is expected to disseminate his ruling on this landmark case in a matter of weeks.