Cayman Islands to ban gay marriage

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An amendment to legislation in the Cayman Islands defining marriage as between a man and a woman is expected to get support from the government and opposition.

However, the proposed change to the law does not mention civil partnerships.

Recent UK government regulations allow the partners of citizens of British Overseas Territories that have passed civil partnership legislation to apply for citizenship.

However, the UK has not extended partnership legislation across the 14 territories, which include Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands and the Cayman Islands, and none of them have moved to legalise same-sex partnerships.

“The concern that everyone seems to have that somehow this is going to force the recognition of civil unions in the Cayman Islands – that fear needs to be addressed,” Education Minister Alden McLaughlin told the Cay Compass.

“When we talk about the need to get the United Kingdom to restrict its ability….to extend legislation to the Cayman Islands, this is a perfect example of what can happen if we do not achieve that objective.”

The UK and the Caymans are due to begin talks about constitutional reform later this year.

Homosexual acts between consenting adults were decriminalised in the Caymans by a UK Order in Council in December 2000.

In the wake of an incident in which a gay man was detained by police on the Cayman Islands after kissing his boyfriend in public, there has been much discussion of gay rights in the territory and concern the UK may move to introduce civil partnerships.

The Director of Tourism apologised to Aaron Chandler, the American visitor who was targeted and held by police for kissing his boyfriend.

Mr Chandler said that the apology was appreciated but also made sense from a business point of view 70% of the Caribbean nation’s GDP comes from tourism.

The 23 year old American, on holiday with his partner, was detained by an off duty police officer and taken to a police station but not arrested. He was later released without charge.

Complaints about the couple kissing were reportedly made by fellow customers at the Royal Palms resort.

They deny that they behaved any differently from other straight guests.

Mr Chandler was told by the off duty police officer to not kiss his partner in public.

The couple decided to ignore the instruction and when later in the evening they kissed again Mr Chandler was physically taken away from the nightclub where they were drinking with friends and detained at the local station.