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Saturday 17 August 2019
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Judge: Greater equality for same-sex couples

Hairdresser to pay $30,000 to former lover

A HIGH COURT judge has called for greater equality for same-sex couples who, he said, are denied statutory protection afforded to heterosexual partners particularly in propriety and inheritance matters.

Justice Frank Seepersad said, “Equality of treatment before the law ought to be a cornerstone of any democratic society, but for many citizens the law deprives them of basic protection as they are denied the requisite degree of statutory protection which is afforded to heterosexual partners.

“There exists an urgent need for this untenable state of affairs to be rectified. The society must engage in introspective reflection and determine whether those who feel compelled to deny same-sex partners equality of treatment, operate under such heightened levels of insecurity that for them there is no room for tolerance, and the apodictic entitlement to equality of treatment should only be applied to heterosexual persons. Discrimination, in any form should be categorically rejected, and in this Republic equality of treatment before the law must prevail.”

Seepersad approved a consent order between two gay former business partners and lovers.

As part of the agreement, a popular La Romaine hairdresser has agreed to transfer the ownership of spa equipment and interest in the business to his former lover and business partner. The claimant in the case allegedly moved in with his lover in 2010, and consolidated all his earnings into the business and their apartment.

He also said it was after he entered the business that it began to flourish, as previously the accounts were always in overdraft. He ran the spa portion of the business, and loans were taken out to buy equipment, to renovate the establishment, upgrade their living space and for him to take a course in medical aesthetics to do laser and other medical treatments for weight loss and skin imperfections.

He said he was kicked out of the business in March, when the hairdresser filed a notice of change of directors for the salon and he was prevented from running his spa or accessing the salon’s accounts.

The matter came up for hearing in the San Fernando High Court on Thursday, where the parties entered into the consent agreement.

The judge said the court was compelled to point out that the case demonstrated “the inequitable, unfair and oppressive nature of existing laws.”

He said had the parties not entered into an agreement, the court would have had to rely on the law of trusts and adopt innovative or radical applications to ensure that the common law was developed to determine what happens to property after the dissolution of a same-sex union.

In addition to the transfer of the equipment and ownership of shares, the hairdresser is to also pay $30,000 to his former lover, and $60,000 to his former lover’s mother.

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