Last edited: January 03, 2005

Cayman Islands Government Minister Defends Ban on Gay Sex

Associated Press, March 29, 1999

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands—A government minister said the Cayman Islands has a "mandate from God" to maintain its ban on gay sex in the face of British demands it eliminate it in return for United Kingdom citizenship.

Community Affairs Minister Julianna O’Connor-Connolly said the Caribbean British territory should complain to London about the requirement, which was outlined two weeks ago by British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook.

"We have a mandate from God that we are to love homosexuals but not condone their acts," O’Connor-Connolly said. "If we don’t decide at this stage in our history to stand for what is right, then I submit that we will fall for everything."

O’Connor-Connolly made the comments during debate Friday in the territory’s legislative assembly. She said the government would soon issue a statement giving its official position on the matter.

The Cayman Islands outlaws sex between people of the same gender. Although there is no record of anyone being charged, last year the country turned away cruise liners chartered by gays because authorities feared some of the passengers might have sex illegally.

On March 17, Cook presented a proposal to the British Parliament returning full citizenship rights revoked in 1981 to its remaining possessions, most of them in the Caribbean. In return, the territories would have to bring their laws in line with international agreements London has signed.

Cook said Britain wanted the territories to erase statutes against homosexuality and loosen secretive banking practices, and for Bermuda to abolish the death penalty.

The proposal has been approved by the British Cabinet and must be passed by the entire Parliament.

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