UK: Repeal of Anti-Gay Laws Will Remain
Blade, February 23, 2001
By Will OBryan
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.