Last edited: December 31, 2004

Britain Will Hear Cayman’s Complaints on Gay Laws

CNN, February 18, 2001

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (AP) — A British official said the government will accept a petition from Caymanian church leaders angered that Britain struck down the territory’s laws against homosexuality, but it does not plan to change its decision.

The British government in January scrapped its five Caribbean territories’ anti-gay laws, which it said violated human rights agreements Britain had signed. The move angered religious leaders in the conservative islands. A group of church ministers in the Cayman Islands this month began circulating a petition against it.

Ian Hendry, a deputy legal adviser for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said "clearly we would read it with interest," but he noted that the decision to repeal the laws against homosexuality "was made after long deliberation."

"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 UK...," Hendry said at a news conference Friday.

The order decriminalizing homosexual acts between consenting adults in private also applies to Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

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