Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Governor says that it is "a sad day for the rule of law" in Cayman

The debate on the Domestic Partnership Bill 2020 was concluded in the Legislative Assembly today, with the vote resulting in a defeat by 8 votes to 9. Premier Alden McLaughlin, Moses Kirkconnell, Joey Hew, Roy McTaggart, Tara Rivers, David Wight, Austin Harris and Ezzard Miller voted on behalf of the bill. 

The Domestic Partnerships Bill 2020 provided for the "issue of a licence to enter into a domestic partnership" granted same-sex domestic partners with formal legal protection similar to a married couple.

Governor, Martyn Roper has responded to the outcome of the vote as "as sad day for the rule of law in the Cayman Islands" given that "The Legislative Assembly has an overriding responsibility to uphold the rule of law to ensure it is compliant with the Cayman Islands Constitution, Court of Appeal Judgement and the European Convention on Human Rights."

In his statement of support before the Legislative Assembly, the Premier stated "I would urge us all as we speak our mind and our conscience to remember always the importance of compassion and tolerance and to understand that however strongly our views may be held, others are entitled to theirs as well. It is other people – other parents, children; others’ children’s parents – that we are speaking about. My point, we are all God’s creatures and we ought to, regardless of how strong we feel, to remember that."

But ultimately the bill was not passed.

The following is the empassioned response of the Governor, to the defeat of the bill.

"I recognise the great sensitivity and strong emotions aroused across our community by the debate on the Domestic Partnerships Bill. There were many high quality and passionate speeches by members of the Legislative Assembly on both sides of this difficult debate.  I am nonetheless greatly concerned that the Legislative Assembly has not passed the Bill. It is a sad day for the rule of law in the Cayman Islands, a cornerstone of our democracy. The Grand Court, Court of Appeal and the Cayman Islands Government itself, have all recognised that there is a clear legal obligation on the Legislative Assembly to provide a framework to end discrimination against same sex couples. The Legislative Assembly has an overriding responsibility to uphold the rule of law to ensure it is compliant with the Cayman Islands Constitution, Court of Appeal Judgement and the European Convention on Human Rights. I appreciate the considerable efforts of the Honourable Premier and Attorney-General to find the best compromise and balance for the country between our clear legal commitments and the strong views of many in the community on this issue. I believe the draft Bill achieved that objective by protecting the institution of marriage, which I know is of such great importance to many. UK Ministers will consider carefully the implications of the Bill’s defeat."

Get the latest local and international news straight to your mobile phone for free: