Wednesday 23 September, 2020

21-day public consultation on the Domestic Partnership Bill has begun

Acting on instructions from the Foreign Secretary-- as indicated last week Wednesday-- Governor Martyn Roper has moved forward on his decision to use his reserved powers under Section 81 of the Constitution to assent to the Domestic Partnership Bill that was rejected by the legislature on July 29.

On Monday, the governor published a slightly amended version of the Domestic Partnership bill in addition to "a number of consequential pieces of legislation [that were] amended at the same time to bring them into line with the new law." 

The changes to the added pieces of legislation address language, references and rights, that did not provide for "the definitions of new terms used in the Law such as domestic partner and domestic partnership." Terms such as "lawful wedlock" were removed from the legislation and the definition of terms such as "nearest relative" and “prescribed person” were changed to include domestic partners. 

The governor advised that it is "imperative that the Domestic Partnership Bill is passed into law so that the discrimination suffered by Chantelle Day and Vicky Bodden-Bush, and others in same sex relationships, is brought to an end as required by the Court of Appeal."

Under the proposed changes, domestic partners will be allowed to jointly adopt, share health insurance, immigrate together and enjoy other rights traditionally extended to married couples; in short, same-sex domestic partners will be accorded formal legal protection similar to a married couple, putting the Cayman Islands in a position in which it is compliant with the rule of law, as per the Bill of Rights of the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

With the prior approval of the Secretary of State, the governor published the following Domestic Partnership and Ancillary Bills on August 10, to be followed by a 21-day consultative period during which the public will have the opportunity to provide their comments by emailing: GovernorsOffice.Cayman@fco.gov.uk .

At the end of the 21-day period, and acting under instructions from the Foreign Secretary, the governor indicated that he will use his Reserved Powers under Section 81 of the Constitution to assent to the Bill. 

The governor expects the bill to be gazetted and come into law at the beginning of September. 

"I hope we can soon put this divisive debate behind us and come together as a people as we continue to navigate our way through a challenging global pandemic," said the governor in a prior statement.  

  1. Domestic Partnership Bill, 2020  http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994543.PDF
  2. Adoption of Children (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994544.PDF
  3. Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994545.PDF
  4. Health Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2020; http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994546.PDF
  5. Immigration (Transition) (Amendment) (NO.2) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994547.PDF
  6. Mental Health (Amendment) Bill, 2020  http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994548.PDF
  7. National Pensions (Amendment) (NO.2) Bill, 2020  http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994549.PDF
  8. Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994550.PDF
  9. Protection From Domestic Violence (Amendment) Bill, 2020http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994551.PDF
  10. Public Service Pensions (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994552.PDF
  11. Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994553.PDF
  12. Wills (Amendment) Bill, 2020 http://gazettes.gov.ky/portal/pls/portal/docs/1/12994542.PDF

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