“Today we will end the discrimination being suffered by Caymanians and others on our islands whilst protecting the institution of marriage,” said Roper.
In his statement, the governor said that the move was in line with instructions from the U.K. government ministers to use his reserved powers under Section 81 of the Constitution to write legislation, after the formerly titled Domestic Partnership Bill, had been defeated in the Legislative Assembly on July 29, before being amended.
The governor urged everyone to “recognize that same-sex couples have the right to legal and financial protection like everyone else. Accepting diversity and difference shows to the world that we are a caring community based on mutual respect, tolerance, and equality for all.”
He also reiterated that the Cayman Islands retains its full autonomy for domestic issues, including in education and immigration matters.
The U.K. has intervened in prior but rare occasions, as in the case of abolition of the death penalty in 1991 and legalizing homosexuality in 2000.
Roper contended that the U.K. had no option but to step in to ensure Cayman complies with international obligations under the terms of the European Convention on Human Rights and that Cayman is required to provide a legal framework for same-sex couples that is functionally equivalent to marriage.
Meanwhile, LGBTQIA+ group Colours Cayman considered the law a significant step but said that absolute marriage equality, which still doesn’t exist, is “the only true means of achieving equality.”