GOVERNOR FACING LEGAL CHALLENGE OVER SECTION 81 USE
The Governor is facing a legal challenge over his decision to invoke Section 81 of the constitution to override the Legislative Assembly and pass the Civil Partnership Law.
The controversial law changed from ‘Domestic Partnership’ in its enactment, gives legal recognition to same-sex and other unions outside the existing Marriage Law.
The legal challenge is being led by Kattina Anglin who, with the support of the Christian Association for Civics(CAC) where she is the Public Relations Officer, is seeking to bring a claim for judicial review against HE Governor Martyn Roper’s decision.
In a statement dated September 5th, the CAC, says: “Noting the complexity/ technical nature of the matter and importance, it is accepted that the prospects outlined in Counsel’s opinion provides for the consideration of legal aid to the Applicant.”
The organisation says the original (Domestic Partnership) Bill failed to pass the Legislative Assembly "with legislators citing mainly a lack of proper public consultation, disregard for the will of the people and contrariness to the Constitution, among other grounds for rejecting its passage."
It reports that Ms Anglin had received legal input from Alliance Defending Freedom International, Christian Concern, retired Privy Councillor, Right Honourable Dame Joan Sawyer DBE and Mr Paul Diamond LLM one of the UK’s premier Christian defence barristers.
Locally, she is represented by Mr James Kennedy, a partner in the law firm KSG Attorneys at Law in bringing the case.
In setting out the claim for the legal aid - which was subsequently granted - Mr Kennedy had argued that “the overreach and interference of the Governor in the legislative processes of the Cayman Islands rather than the issue of gay rights per se is one with very significant public interest considerations and potential ramifications for the Cayman Islands in many spheres of public life.”
He spoke of “unlawful use of the Governor’s powers to change the law in the face of a decision by the Legislative Assembly”.
“Not only would the act be beyond the scope of the Governor’s powers, it would undermine the plain intention of the Constitution, which states that it is for the Legislature to remedy any alleged incompatibility."
Questioning whether the Governor’s actions "are rational in a matter that is sub-judice," Mr Kennedy had observed that “…it is conceivable that the Privy Council may reverse the Court of Appeal’s declaration of incompatibility.”
UK attorney Paul Diamond LLM of the UK, another who is supporting the legal challenge against the Governor's use of Section 81, opined that the Governor is acting ultra vires and that a declaration should be brought against him.
Ms Anglin said, “My constitution is being butchered, the majority of my people’s concerns were rejected and my legislators were being disrespected.”
She also said, “The majority of people are unaware of the dangerous precedent that is being set with the Governor taking action in this way, although the government and its leadership makes no mention of it. I had no choice but to intervene in what I saw as a blatant violation of the Rule of Law."