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Respect court's ruling on gays matter — Cayman jurist

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Sunday Observer writer
editorial@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, October 20, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Chief justice of the Cayman Islands Anthony Smellie says Jamaicans must accept the outcome of the matter being contested in the court by the lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group, Montego Bay Pride, and the city's Mayor Homer Davis and the St James Municipal Corporation, over the use of the Montego Bay Cultural Centre to host a series of events, including a forum on same-sex marriage.

Late last week, the Court of Appeal overturned an interim injunction granted by the Supreme Court to Montego Bay Pride, allowing the organisation to rent the Montego Bay Cultural Centre to host the events.

The Maurice Tomlinson-led group was earlier granted an interim order by the Supreme Court, but two days later Davis took the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Speaking to reporters shortly after presenting his lecture at Cornwall College's homecoming week event at the school in Montego Bay on Friday, the Jamaican, who is an old boy of the all-boys school, said while it is inappropriate for him to comment on a matter before the courts, persons should respect the ruling of the court.

“First of all, it wouldn't be appropriate for me to comment on any case before the court. Safe to say that people will have to respect the judgements of the court and there is an appeal process, I imagine, and ultimately when the case is finally dealt with in an appeal, that will become the decision that everybody will have to respect,” stated Smellie.

In August, Smellie, in a landmark ruling, made same-sex marriage legal in Cayman. Smellie had also reportedly ordered that the laws in that country be changed to reflect that same-sex couples are allowed equal access to marriage as heterosexual couples.

Meanwhile, a report from the British Parliament earlier this year stated that British overseas territories should be forced to legalise same-sex marriage.

Smellie told reporters on Friday that every society has to go through “this process of rationalisation of these rights for itself”.

“The final thing I will say [is] that every society has to go through this process of rationalisation of these rights for itself and I think that the abiding principle must be one of humanity and respect for human dignity. We are all human beings,” said Smellie.

And president of the Cornwall Bar Association Lambert Johnson says he intends to follow closely the case involving Montego Bay Pride and Mayor Davis over the use of the cultural centre, pointing out that Jamaica is a Christian community.

“I don't know all the details, but I find it exceedingly interesting. This is something I intend to follow closely, because the reality is we are a Christian community and so that is the principle that will guide us,” stated Johnson.


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