Cayman Island Churches Push for Antigay Laws
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 dont 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.