UK court denies homosexual marriage in Cayman and Bermuda Islands

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On Monday, activists supporting gay marriage in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda were dealt a blow, following a decision by a top London appeals court.

The Privy Council of the United Kingdom, which serves as the final court of appeal for many islands in the Caribbean, was on the side of the government of Bermuda, which fought the decision of the local Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage.

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The Privy Council also ruled that homosexuals did not have the right to marry in the Cayman Islands based on its Constitution.

“I am in shock,” Leonardo Raznovich, a local activist, told the Associated Press. “The decision is an insult to human dignity.”
Raznovich said that he plans to fight the decision of the Privy Council.

Caribbean activists had hoped for a favorable regime to help influence public opinion in a largely conservative region, where colonial anti-sodomy laws remain on the books, and same-sex marriage is rarely considered a practice—considered a right.

One of the five judges in the Bermuda case disagreed. However, it said that “international instruments and the constitutions of other countries cannot be used to read (Bermuda’s constitution) the right to legal recognition of same-sex marriage.”

Meanwhile, the decision in the Cayman Islands case was unanimous, with the judges writing that “the effect of the Board’s interpretation is that it is a matter of choice for the Legislative Assembly, rather than the authority set forth in the Constitution.”

In May 2017, the island’s Supreme Court ruled that they were legal, but the party that won the general election overruled that decision months later, allowing only domestic participation. One senator said during the debate at the time: “Society at large does not support gay marriage nor is it prepared to accept it at this time.”

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The issue bounced through various courts until it reached the Privy Council.

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