Activists believe the decision by a court in the Cayman Islands to legalise same-sex unions could have repercussions for other British Overseas Territories (OT’s) such as the British Virgin Islands.
The ruling, which was made by Chief Justice Anthony Smellie in Grand Cayman late last month, was made on the argument that it was unconstitutional to prevent such unions.
As such, the chief justice ruled for changes be made to the existing laws that prevented such marriages in the Cayman Islands.
The decision was as a result of a lesbian couple – Caymanian Chantelle Day and Vickie Bodden of the United Kingdom – who went to court after their application to wed last year was denied.
In the meantime, a United Kingdom report released in February this year is pushing for the BVI and other OT’s to, among other things, impose same-sex marriages.
The report further recommended that the UK government set a date for all of its OT’s to comply and validate same-sex unions.
“If that deadline is not met, the Government should intervene through legislation or an Order in Council,” the report opined.
“It (the UK government) must be prepared to step in, as it did in 2001 when an Order in Council decriminalised homosexuality in OTs that had refused to do so.”
An Order in Council is a command made in the name of Her Majesty the Queen and failure to conform, could result in the UK exerting diplomatic pressure on its non-compliant OT’s.
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