Edward Fitzgerald QC successful in landmark human rights case regarding same-sex marriages in the Cayman Islands

In a landmark decision the Chief Justice of the Cayman Islands held today that the Cayman Islands Constitution requires that same sex couples have the right to marry.

The Cayman Islands is a British Overseas Territory. Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden Bush begged the Cayman Islands Government, the Governor and the UK Foreign Office to let them marry. They said that they’d be prepared to accept a civil partnership as long as their relationship could be recognised by law.

Their plea was rejected and they were forced to litigate in order to have their relationship acknowledged.

Today the Chief Justice accepted their arguments and ordered that they should be entitled to marry with immediate effect.

They were represented in court by Edward Fitzgerald QC (Doughty Street Chambers) and Peter Laverack (5 Essex Court). Ben Tonner QC from McGrath Tonner was their solicitor.

Jonathan Cooper OBE said:

“Chantelle and Vickie should not have been forced to litigate in order to have their relationship recognised in law. It’s a scandal that the FCO made them do this. When will this Government put its money where its mouth is and mainstream LGBT equality across the board? The FCO could and should have insisted that all British Overseas Territories recognise LGBT relationships in law. Instead, they dragged Chantelle and Vicky through the courts. It’s brilliant what Chantelle and Vicky have achieved, but it’s also demeaning to have to compel your Government to recognise your love.”  

Peter Laverack, a barrister at 5 Essex Court, acting on behalf of the petitioners, said: 

"Chantelle's and Vickie's relationship finally has been recognised.  For too long they and their daughter were denied what loving couples and ordinary families take for granted.  The Chief Justice's judgment beautifully combines the common law and European Court case law, with a healthy dose of common sense. Equality means equality. Love is love."​

This decision will have a huge impact across the common law world and the Commonwealth.

Its implications are significant. Can Northern Ireland continue to deny same-sex marriage in light of this judgment?

For further information, please contact Jonathan Cooper: 07979538583; @jonathancoopr;

Background information can be found here.