Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Same-sex regulations to take effect in Cayman on Monday

Published:Saturday | September 26, 2020 | 9:34 AM
CMC photo.

Cayman's Human Rights Commission (HRC) has called for respect and civility, as the country proceeds to implement new regulations next week legalising civil partnerships between couples of the same sex. 

The Cayman Compass reports that the regulations under the Civil Partnership Law will become effective Monday, after being approved by Cayman's Governor Martyn Roper in consultation with  Premier Alden McLaughlin and gazetted on Friday.   

The Civil Partnership Law will provide same-sex couples with a legal framework equivalent to marriage, which is currently restricted to heterosexual couples under Cayman’s Marriage Law.

The regulations outline how couples can apply for a civil partnership licence. They also deal with the appointment of civil registrars and their deputies, as well as civil-partnership officers, who are authorised to formalise civil partnerships in the Cayman Islands.

The law has been controversial in the Cayman Islands since its introduction. It received the governor's assent in August after being shot down by Cayman's legislature. 

Roper said as the UK’s representative in Cayman, he had no option but to step in to ensure Cayman complied with the law and international obligations under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights. He said Cayman is required to provide a legal framework for same-sex couples that is functionally equivalent to marriage.

With the law to take effect on Monday, the HRC has called for Caymanians to respect the rights of each citizen. It also warned against the hurling of threats and abuse, noting that the right to freedom of expression does not allow it.

“Although freedom of expression is guaranteed under section 11 of the Constitution, this right, like many others, is a qualified right. This means that the right can be lawfully restricted or taken away by the government in certain broadly defined circumstances,” the Compass quoted the HRC.

There have been leaked messages from a private social media group, which Cayman’s LGBTQ community has condemned as hate speech. Although there is no hate speech law in Cayman, the HRC warns that there is a legal equivalent under Cayman’s Penal Code.

The HRC said “section 88 of the Penal Code provides that actions or articulation which are threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviours that are likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress can be considered a criminal offence."

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