Cayman Islands: LGBT group worried by MLAs’ view of law

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(CNS): The local LGBT advocacy group, Colours Cayman, has welcomed the governor’s decision to intervene in order to uphold the rule of law regarding the rights of that community and enact the Domestic Partnership Law. However, the activists have raised concerns that some local legislators have said that they are not willing to comply with the law if they believe it contradicts “God’s Law”. The group said this takes the issue beyond that of marriage equality and creates a constitutional crisis.

In a statement issued Wednesday on behalf of Colours, Billie “Bee” Bryan, its founder and president, said the failure of the Legislative Assembly to pass the Domestic Partnership Law left the Cayman Islands in clear breach of its own Constitution and the UK Government in breach of its international obligations under the ECHR.

“But the issue here is no longer solely about equal rights for LGBTQIA+ people,” she said. “Disturbingly, this ordeal has transformed into a constitutional crisis of unprecedented nature for the Cayman Islands. The legislators went so far as to state publicly on Wednesday that they are not willing to comply with the law to the extent that it contradicts ‘God’s Law’.”

Bryan said that failing to address the issue was already unacceptable but defying the Court of Appeal’s declaration is an “entirely more alarming scenario by effect of the legislators expressly stating that they are not prepared to comply with the final decisions of our own courts”.

Concerned about the approach taken by the several MLAs, she said they welcomed the governor’s decision to utilise section 81 of the Constitution to “put an end to the path of anarchy we’ve been forced into” and the inevitable intervention by the UK.

But the orgnaisation still hopes that Cayman will achieve full equality for the LGBT community, given the inequities that still exist with the Domestic Partnership Bill.

Bryan said that Colours Cayman supports any genuine attempt to comply with the Constitution and to uphold the rule of law and it will take the time again to assess the revised bill in detail when it is published.

Noting that they were “disappointed that the bill provides a legal framework for ‘domestic partnerships’ rather than marriage”, she pointed out that the Court of Appeal had “made it very clear” that, “contrary to popular belief”, nothing in the Constitution prevents the legislature from extending marriage to same-sex couples.

As the premier had noted during the LA debate, this would have been the easier route to secure equality for all, rather than effectively instituting legal segregation in the Cayman Islands, she said.

“Colours Cayman will continue to pursue the fight for same rights with the same name,” Bryan said. However, she added that the group nevertheless recognised the importance of this step, which will ensure the protection and recognition of a broad range of rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Source Cayman News Service

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