Last edited: February 14, 2005

Cayman Island Churches Push for Antigay Laws

The Advocate, February 5, 2001

Religious leaders in the Cayman Islands have started a petition drive protesting a British order that decriminalized homosexuality in its five Caribbean territories. Last month the United Kingdom scrapped laws making homosexuality a crime in the Cayman Islands and four other territories after local legislatures refused to do so. The move angered church leaders, who say that homosexuality is immoral and goes against the cultural grain of the deeply religious and socially conservative islands. The petition says those who sign "object to enacting legislation against the will of the people of the Cayman Islands," said the Rev. Al Ebanks, chairman of the Cayman Ministers Association. "The people of the Cayman Islands as well as other overseas territories have made it abundantly clear what our position is on this matter," Ebanks said recently. "I don’t know any partnership that could survive on the basis of this kind of one-sided relationship." He said the petition would be turned over to the Cayman Islands legislature and its British governor. The order from the British Privy Council, which acts as the highest court for the territories, decriminalized homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. It also applies to Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The U.K. government said the antigay laws violated international human rights agreements it has signed. The United Kingdom has had the power to unilaterally revoke the statutes but for years had tried in vain to persuade local legislatures to repeal them.

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