GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Britain has actively engaged with the Bermuda government “in undermining the rule of law, ignoring an order of the local court and facilitating the withdrawal of equality” for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex community there, Dr Leonardo Raznovich, a lawyer and Cayman-based LGBTI activist has said.
Highlighting Britain’s failure to protect the rights of LGBTI people after it supported the Bermuda government’s reversal of the marriage equality law, Raznovich said the UK’s complicity was “exceptionally disturbing”, and asked if the UK would have endorsed such a move if it had been reversing the rights of non-Christian couples or interracial couples.
Raznovich said the support of the UK for this act of discrimination showed disregard for “good governance”, a central policy of the constitutional arrangements in place between Britain and its overseas territories.
Highlighting other instances in the Cayman Islands of discrimination against the LGBTI community, Raznovich said the UK had not only actively engaged in undermining the rule of law by endorsing the removal of legally established constitutional rights from a section of the population in Bermuda, but it is also disregarding the rights of the LGBTI community in the Cayman Islands and other British Overseas Territories.
Raznovich pointed to the incitement to violence against gay people in the local Legislative Assembly, the petition organised by Colours Cayman that was ignored by the UK, and its support of the local government in its approach to Caymanian same-sex couples, who are forced to live overseas.
Raznovich won the right to remain in Cayman as a dependent on his British spouse’s work permit because the couple are legally married in their respective countries. But he noted that Caymanians in same-sex marriages with non-Caymanians are forced to live overseas because the government does not recognise those marriages because there is no supporting equality legislation here.
“These breaches of the ECHR in the Cayman Islands and this latest despicable act in Bermuda call into question the UK’s respect for human rights,” the lawyer said. “The UK clearly has its own policies and agenda in place with regards to governance of these territories that, for whatever reason, endorse oppression and segregation against LGBTI people, in breach of the local rule of law and international law.”
Raznovich called on the UK to explain why LGBTI citizens are less worthy of equality and how ‘good governance’ permits segregation of LGBTI people.
“Until then, the message sent for LGBTI people in other British Overseas Territories, such as the Cayman Islands, is lugubrious: you can fight for, and secure, equality under local law, but the UK government will support the taking away of that right in defiance of the rule of law and disregard for the promise of securing ‘good governance’ for all persons,” he said.
Raznovich has said that the Bermuda government cannot lawfully overturn its marriage act with the Domestic Partnership Act 2018 because the original legislation came about as a result of a ruling of Bermuda’s own higher court. The lawyer argues that the only lawful route against that law was through an appeal against the Supreme Court ruling or a constitutional change.
Republished with permission of Cayman News Service