The law was intended as a compromise in lieu of same-sex marriage.
The historic vote brings to an end one phase of a long-running battle over legal recognition of same-sex unions but it is now felt that it could now open the door to a full imposition of same-sex marriage as the further legal challenges are expected.
A disappointed Hon. Premier Alden McLaughlin on Wednesday reflected on the disillusionment and despair which descended over him on Tuesday night following two days of intense and passionate debate over controversial Domestic Partnership Bill, giving legal recognition to same-sex couples.
Although he told Wednesday’s meeting of the territory’s Legislative Assembly that by early in the day the disenchantment that he felt had somewhat subsided as he was confident that he was doing the right thing, his displeasure was still palpable.
Seemingly anticipating that his government was facing losing the historic vote with its socially-defining implications, Mr McLaughlin felt that political expediency had triumphed over prior indications of support even though he had agreed to a free vote.
He considered that the previous day was “the hardest of all” in his seven years as leader.
Some observers have linked the vote to the upcoming general election due by next May and a lack of public affinity for the concept of same-sex marriage or its alternative of domestic partnership.
When Mr McLaughlin stated “we shall see who’s here and who’s not next time around” that was seen as alluding to the next election at which this issue was already been seen as a key determining factor.
In lieu of same-sex marriage, the new law fashioned largely on an equally controversial law in Bermuda, is intended to recognise a legal union between same-sex couples.
The goal of having same-sex unions recognised in law has been a long-running legal hurdle through the Cayman Islands court system, aspects of which are now headed to the Privy Council.
The Premier rejected accusations that the public consultation on the delicate issue was unsatisfactory and insufficient.
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