Breaking; Cayman Islands legalizes gay marriage in landmark ruling - eritvnews

Breaking; Cayman Islands legalizes gay marriage in landmark ruling

Peter Laverack (first right), who represented the couple in court, said: 'The judge agreed that under the constitution they are entitled to marry like any other couple that have chosen to spend their lives together.' (Pictured from left to right) Leo Raznovich, Ben Tonner QC, Chantelle Day, Vickie Bodden Bush and Peter LaverackCayman Islands legalizes gay marriage in landmark ruling after battle is led by lesbian couple who fled the British territory for four years so they could raise their five-year-old daughter
Chantelle Day, 32, and Vickie Bodden Bush, 44, won at the islands' Grand Court
The ruling has legalized gay marriage in the British territory
The couple fled the islands when Vickie was denied a spousal VISA and they weren't recognized as the parents of their daughter
Northern Ireland, and four British territories, still don't recognize gay marriage
By LUKE ANDREWS FOR MAIL-ONLINE



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The Cayman Islands has legalised gay marriage in a landmark case brought by a lesbian couple forced to flee the islands after their relationship was not recognized.

Chantelle Day, 32, from the Cayman Islands, and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush, 44, from the UK and Honduras, spent four years living away from home with their five-year-old daughter before bringing their case to the Cayman Islands' Grand Court.

Chief Justice Smellie ruled that the 'indignity' the couple had suffered could only be repaired by 'opening the institution of marriage to them'.

Only Northern Ireland and four territories in the Caribbean under British jurisdiction still refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.

Chantelle Day (second left) and Vickie Bodden Bush (second right) won their case in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands today legalizing same-sex marriage +5
Chantelle Day (second left) and Vickie Bodden Bush (second right) won their case in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands today legalizing same-sex marriage

Peter Laverack (first right), who represented the couple in court, said: 'The judge agreed that under the constitution they are entitled to marry like any other couple that have chosen to spend their lives together.' (Pictured from left to right) Leo Raznovich, Ben Tonner QC, Chantelle Day, Vickie Bodden Bush and Peter Laverack +5
Peter Laverack (first right), who represented the couple in court, said: 'The judge agreed that under the constitution they are entitled to marry like any other couple that have chosen to spend their lives together.' (Pictured from left to right) Leo Raznovich, Ben Tonner QC, Chantelle Day, Vickie Bodden Bush and Peter Laverack

Chantelle, speaking to MailOnline after the ruling, said they were both 'lost for words'.

'We're just so happy right now. This is the result we were looking for.

'True equality, dignity and equal treatment, and we're really grateful for it.'

The couple moved abroad for four years after the Cayman Islands denied Vickie a spousal VISA and refused to recognise Chantelle as the mother of their daughter, who they jointly adopted in England.


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They then spent two years living in Dublin, and two in London, before returning to 'make a stand for our rights'.

'If I was to go back home, I wanted to do it on an equal footing with a straight couple,' she said.

The Cayman Islands are a British territory in the Caribbean. The Grand Court's decision leaves only Northern Ireland, and four other territories in the Caribbean under UK jurisdiction still refusing to recognise same-sex marriage
The Cayman Islands are a British territory in the Caribbean. The Grand Court's decision leaves only Northern Ireland, and four other territories in the Caribbean under UK jurisdiction still refusing to recognise same-sex marriage+5

The case was heard in court in February and the judgement was given today.

Their barrister Peter Laverack, who works at 5 Essex Court and was nominated as an LGBT campaigner of the year by PinkNews, said: 'The Chief Justice's judgement beautifully combines the common law and European Court case law, with a healthy dose of common sense.

'We made a plea for marriage or as a fall-back civil partnership.

'We won on marriage, and succeeded on all fronts, establishing violations of the rights to private and family life, freedom of conscience and equality.

'The judge agreed that under the constitution they are entitled to marry like any other couple that have chosen to spend their lives together.

'Chantelle and Vickie's relationship has finally been recognized. For too long they and their daughter were denied what loving couples and ordinary families take for granted.'

After the ruling, Chantelle said she and her partner were 'lost for words' and 'just so happy right now' +5
After the ruling, Chantelle said she and her partner were 'lost for words' and 'just so happy right now'

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said they welcomed the judgement in the Cayman Islands +5
A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said they welcomed the judgement in the Cayman Islands

Which areas under British jurisdiction have legalised same-sex marriage?
1. England & Wales

2. Scotland

3. Guernsey (excluding Sark island)

4. Isle of Man

5. Jersey

6. Akrotiri and Dhekelia

7. Bermuda

8. British Antarctic Territory

9. British Indian Ocean Territory

10. Cayman Islands

11. Falkland Islands

12. Gibraltar

13. Pitcairn Islands

14. Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha

15. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

He wrote on Twitter earlier: 'Today we decriminalized homosexuality. Pleasure to work with on this long road with many bumps over the last 2.5 years.'

'Same-sex marriage is now lawful in the Cayman Islands!! Congratulations to my clients Chantelle and Vickie.'

The couple said they originally reached out to the UK Foreign Office in the Cayman Islands for help, but received none.

They filed to get married but, when that was rejected, they set up a Go Fund Me page so that they could put together a legal team to fight the case.

Jonathan Cooper, a barrister at Doughty Street who had also advised the couple, said: 'Chantelle and Vickie should not have been forced to litigate in order to have their relationship recognized in law.

'It's a scandal that the Foreign Office made them do this. They could and should have insisted that all British Overseas Territories recognize LGBT relationships in law.

'Instead, they dragged the couple through the courts.'

A spokesman for the UK Foreign Office welcomed the judgement in the Cayman Islands.

'The UK believes that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which all citizens can play a full, equal and active part,' they said.

The five British areas that are refusing to recognize same-sex marriage may place the UK in breach of international conventions at a time when the country is asking to be taken seriously on the international stage.

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