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Court hears arguments in day two of same-sex marriage challenge

A local same-sex couple’s legal battle for the recognition of their union is in grand court for a second day.

QC Edward Fitzgerald picked up Friday (8 February) where he left off Thursday, laying out petitioners Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush’s case: at the crux of the argument: exclusion of marriage between same-sex persons is unconstitutional.

Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush arrived at Grand Court Friday morning, flanked by members of their legal team, for day two of their legal challenge.

Inside, QC Fitzgerald impelled chief justice Anthony Smellie to use the court’s constitutional modification powers under section 5 of the Cayman Islands Constitution to bring the law into conformity.

As the marriage law was in existence when the constitution came into force, QC Fitzgerald argued that lawmakers could not have had in mind the need to comply with the bill of rights.

As far as redefining marriage, he presented the court three examples: defining marriage as a union between two people, as the union of two people as husband and wife, wife and wife, or husband and husband, or as the union between two people as one another’s spouses.

QC Fitzgerald wrapped up his initial arguments here Friday afternoon before yielding the floor to Sir Jeffrey Jowell QC, who presented the government case.

QC Jowell told the court it must consider the substance of the right at issue. He argued that Cayman’s Constitution is an original product of Caymanian society and therefore needs special protection.

He pointed out the 2009 Constitution, in the bill of rights, recognises the distinct history, culture, Christian values and socio-economic framework of the Cayman Islands.

QC Jowelll argued that petitioners were too-widely interpreting section 14, which says “Government shall respect the right of every unmarried man and woman of marriageable age (as determined by law) freely to marry a person of the opposite sex and found a family.”

He told the court it was important to note that the 2009 Constitution was a product of a decade of deliberations and consultations, and ultimately was approved by 62% of voters in a referendum.

The case is expected to resume for the third day of arguments Monday (11 February).

About the author

Joe Avary

Joe Avary

Joe Avary has been with Cayman 27 since 2014. He brings 20 years in television experience to the job, working hard every day to bring the people of Cayman stories that inform the public and make a difference in the community. Joe hopes his love for the Cayman Islands shines through in his informative and entertaining weather reports. If you have a story idea for Joe or just want to say hello, call him at 324-2141 or send an email to josephavary@hurleysmedia.ky

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