Last edited: February 14, 2005

UK: Repeal of Anti-Gay Laws Will Remain

The Washington Blade, February 23, 2001
World Briefs

By Will O’Bryan

CAYMAN ISLANDS — An official with Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said the government will receive a petition signed by Cayman Island residents who oppose the repeal of anti-Gay laws, CNN reported. The official added, however, that the petition will not alter the governments January repeal.

"It is difficult to see now why a petition should put into reverse the policy that was planned, discussed and carried out, not on a whim but in order to give effect to an international obligation of the U.K.," the official, Ian Hendry, said at a news conference Feb. 16.

The Cayman Ministers Association started their petition drive earlier this month in response to Britain's January repeal of laws discriminatory to Gays in its overseas territories. The repeal affected four territories aside from the Cayman Islands. Those territories are Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Only the Cayman Islands has produced an organized protest to the repeal.

Of the affected territories, the Cayman Islands have a notoriously anti-Gay reputation. In 1998, the government denied docking rights to a cruise ship carrying more than 900 Gay men and Lesbians, claiming the passengers would be unable to uphold the "standards of appropriate behavior."

The British Privy Council, the court responsible for the overseas territories, offered the territories the opportunity to amend the laws themselves, but the territories did not repeal the laws. The laws in question prohibited sex between men, but were rarely enforced. The laws did, however, violate human rights agreements to which Britain is party.

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