The couple who challenged the same-sex marriage law pose with their legal team in the Cayman Islands. The government is now challenging the historic ruling. (Photo: ALVARO SEREY/CAYMAN COMPASS)

Cayman Islands Premier Alden Mclaughlin announced last week that his government plans to appeal the chief justice’s historic decision to legalise same-sex marriage on the grounds that the judge exceeded the scope of his powers, according to the Cayman Compass newspaper.

The premier, speaking in his territory’s Legislative Assembly, said the attorney general had been instructed to appeal the decision and to ask for a stay of implementation pending the results of the appeal, the Compass reported.

More than 100 people gathered outside the Legislative Assembly Sunday to show support for Cayman’s LGBT community, according to the newspaper.

The appeal came four days after the landmark court decision, which ruled that preventing such unions violated the rights to a private and family life guaranteed in the Cayman Constitution.

In the VI

Virgin Islands Deputy Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said last week that the judge’s ruling could have implications if the matter were brought to court in the VI.

“Whenever you have a ruling in the court, especially another OT, that certainly if it comes up here would be a frame of reference for anyone adjudicating on the matter,” he told the Beacon.

In the VI, politicians and public officers have long stated that the practice is illegal, but there is no VI law that explicitly prohibits same-sex marriages or defines marriage as strictly between a man and a woman.

In the past, some VI residents have strongly opposed gay rights, although several politicians including Junior Minister of Trade and Economic Development Sharie de Castro, Junior Minister of Tourism Shereen Flax-Charles, and National Democratic Party Chairman Myron Walwyn expressed tentative support for same-sex marriage in interviews this election season.

A February report from the United Kingdom Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee recommended that the UK government set a date by which same-sex marriage legalisation should be imposed in the OTs, drawing widespread indignation from the VI.

But Governor Gus Jaspert stressed at a press conference last month that the report came from one of several parliamentary committees and did not reflect government policy.

He added, “The report speaks to the issue of every member of this society being valued and being able to live among each other in a fully unified and democratic society.”