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Chief Justice Smellie redefines marriage in landmark judgement

Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush triumphantly walked out of court Friday (29 March) after Chief Justice Anthony Smellie overturns Cayman’s ban on same-sex marriage.

The Chief Justice ordered that the definition of marriage be changed to mean the union of two people as one another’s spouses.

“It’s just great, it shows that love wins and I’m really happy that the right result was received today,” said Ms. Day as she and her partner emerged from courtroom five victorious in their legal challenge.

Minutes earlier it was hugs all around for the petitioners and supporters, including Ms. Day’s father Michael.

“Very proud, very proud, very happy, the right thing happened today,” he said.

In his judgement, Chief Justice Smellie explained the court was bound by Section five of the Constitutional Order to modify the Marriage Law to bring it into compliance with the Constitution.

“The petitioners and their daughter are entitled to the indignities to which they have been subjected being put to an immediate end by the court,” said Chief Justice Smellie before declaring the definition of marriage amended in section two of the marriage law.

Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush took to social media to celebrate Friday’s (29 March) historic judgement.

Attorney General Samuel Bulgin represented the government’s position.

“A very interesting judgement and I understand the government will have to take some time to consider it and think about how to move forward,” said Mr. Bulgin in the minutes after the decision was handed down.

Barrister and LGBT activist Leonardo Raznovich, who assembled Ms. Day and Ms. Bodden Bush’s legal team, praised Chief Justice Smellie’s decision. He told Cayman 27 government had ample opportunity to address the couple’s issues, but failed to act.

“I think it’s really sad that the government forced this couple to fight this battle in court and we truly hope that the government doesn’t decide to appeal because they are going to lose again,” said Mr. Raznovich.

Chief Justice Smellie also noted in his judgement this modification in no way threatens the institution of marriage, and that tradition alone cannot form a rational basis for a law.

He concluded the effect of the 2008 amendment to the Marriage Law has been to impose indignity, inequality of treatment and of legal status on same-sex couples.


The Chief Justice also made changes to Section 27 of the Marriage Law, substituting the term spouse for wife (or husband) in regards to the marriage declaration.

Savannah MLA Anthony Eden, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, weighed in on the decision, calling it a sad day for Cayman.

“Man’s laws cannot make moral what God has declared immoral,” said Mr. Eden in a text message.

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 or send an email to

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