UK won’t impose laws for LGBT rights

| 23/01/2015 | 4 Comments
Cayman News Service

Governor Helen Kilpatrick gives a presentation on gender equality

(CNS): The Cayman Islands governor has said that it is better for the local parliament to introduce or amend the necessary legislation to deal with the discrimination against and the lack of protective rights for members of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender community rather than have the laws imposed by the United Kingdom. Helen Kilpatrick said the UK had no plans to impose laws on any Caribbean overseas territories regarding LGBT rights, despite the test cases in the European Courts that could see government exposed to human rights discrimination claims.

Kilpatrick was speaking on gender equality in Cayman on Thursday evening when she delivered the second in a series of public lectures organised by the Truman Bodden law school. Following the first entertaining and engaging lecture last week by Professor Robert Wintemute of King’s College London on LGBT rights, which was standing room only, the governor attracted a smaller audience Thursday night for her more low-key review of gender equality.

Having largely avoided reference to LGBT issues in her own presentation, the subject came up in the question and answer session. Kilpatrick said the preference would be for the Cayman legislators to deal with the issue of legislation here that conflicts with the rights of the LGBT community and not have that imposed. She said her role was to encourage government in the right direction but the pace and how the law would be addressed was down to local legislators.

However, the Cayman government is very unlikely to address the issue unless its hand is forced. This means that government remains vulnerable to costly legal challenges in the Europeans court, which it cannot win should anyone in Cayman’s largely hidden gay community press a case on a myriad of potential issues that have already been tested.

Cayman has taken a very long time to address discrimination in many areas. In her presentation on the subject of gender equality, Kilpatrick noted that it has taken more than ten years for local legislation to reach the point where the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) could be extended to the jurisdiction. Cayman first requested the extension in 2004, and while the governor said she was confident it would be extended this year, the progress towards an appropriate legislative environment has been a long one.

Furthermore, while Cayman, like many other countries, may have implemented the laws to ensure gender equality, the reality of equality in everyday life is still a problem. In the political arena women remain severely unrepresented, and anecdotal evidence suggests there is blatant discrimination in the workplace environment.

Despite persistent stories of women being sacked as result of getting pregnant and many other gender inequalities, the audience heard that only two cases of gender discrimination have ever been heard by the tribunal established under the Gender Equality Law. And the commission has received only around seven or eight reports which were not progressed — a clear illustration that those facing gender discrimination are not using or even aware of the mechanisms in place to protect them.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Guest says:

    Pity the UK didn’t take that approach with removing the death penalty. Our murder rate would surely be a lot less!!

    • Evi Dence says:

      No correlation between murder rates and the death penalty. There is a negative correlation between the death penalty and conviction rates in potentially capital murder trials. So the evidence is that the death penalty would lead to more killers on the streets.

  2. Pink Parrot says:

    Sickening that the UK is allowing its territory to behave on the basis of bigotry and ignorance.

    • Bill says:

      Sickening that you are a bigot and refusing to allow people to have their own beliefs. Wrong is wrong and right is right. Everyone has a moral compass, follow it!

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