The Cayman Islands legalised same-sex marriage exactly five months ago, but a new government appeal could reverse the ruling.
Chantelle Day and her partner Vickie Bodden Bush applied for the right to be married in the Cayman Islands, a British territory, but had their application rejected because they are a same-sex couple.
They then crowdfunded to fight the decision and, on March 29, the chief justice accepted their arguments, modifying the marriage law with immediate effect to allow same-sex marriage.
The appeal from the government opened on Wednesday, August 28.
At the start of the three-day hearing, one of the couple’s lawyers, Jonathan Cooper, told Reuters: “Marriage is a fundamental human right.
“It feels highly inappropriate to force (the couple) through a further appeal process, when the chief justice in the case in the high court was clear that they were entitled to marry.”
Premier of the Cayman Islands called the legalisation of same-sex marriage “bad law”.
Premier of the Cayman Islands, Alden McLaughlin, made a statement about the planned appeal in April in which he said: “I and my entire government have great respect for the chief justice and indeed the independence of the judiciary.
“But even the best judges get it wrong from time to time. Hard cases make bad law. None of us who are human are infallible.”
The Cayman Islands constitution does not explicitly mention same-sex unions, and McLaughlin said that the territory’s bill of rights “deliberately” uses the words “man” and “woman” to define marriage.
He continued: “As premier I will state what I have said many times before – I have no doubt that the feelings of the majority of Caymanians are that marriage should retain its traditional and religious definition and meaning, the union of one man and one woman.”