(CNS): As church organisers prepare for this weekend’s anti-gay rights rally, members of Cayman’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community have challenged the expertise of the controversial Christian conservative lawyer billed as the headline speaker and a Jamaican leader billed as a health expert. A spokesperson for Colours Cayman, a campaign organisation founded to foster a safe social environment for the LGBT community here, said they welcomed debate but claimed that David Gibbs III, despite his billing, is not qualified in local or English law or an expert in European human rights, and that Brendan Bain’s views on homosexuals and public health fly in the face of medical evidence.
Gibbs is joining the line-up at a rally on Sunday evening, which organisers are suggesting has been staged to “promote Bible-based family values” and to promote the religious discriminatory positions regarding what have been dubbed as “alternative lifestyles”.
Stirring up enormous controversy and polarizing the community, the rising religious frenzy regarding the rights of the LGBT community has received considerable political support, whereas few MLAs appear to be concerned about the inequities they face and the lack of a framework to recognise same-sex relationships.
Colours said that they welcomed legal debate over the rights of LGBTs in Cayman but they are concerned that fundamentalist religious ideas from Christian rather than legal experts will distort the wider public’s understanding of the issues.
“Colours Cayman is also not aware of Mr David Gibbs III possessing any particular expertise in matters of international law and European Human Rights law, all of which regulate the specific question concerning recognition of rights for same-sex families and LGBTQ people in the Cayman Islands,” the campaign group said ahead of the rally.
“Any observations on matters of Cayman Islands law, English law, European Human Rights law or any laws other than those in which he is legally qualified to advise must be treated as Mr Gibbs’s personal views only, they should not be relied upon as legal analysis nor authoritative legal commentary with respect to Cayman Islands law or laws applicable to its jurisdiction, nor of persuasive authority for the Cayman Islands courts,” Colours added.
Gibbs and his father David Gibbs JR have cause controversy in the United States for their extreme opposition to any rights afforded to the LGBT community or any acceptance of them as equals. Gibbs III is well-known for representing religious organisations in court to protect what they believe is their right to discriminate.
Colours also raised concerns about Brendan Bain, who is billed as a health expert. But it is understood the head of the Jamaica-based Family Life Ministries was fired by the University of West Indies for claiming homosexuality is a public health threat, in defiance of all medical evidence to the contrary, and campaigning for it to remain a criminal offence in that country.
“If the organisers of the rally are keen to frame a legal and medical discussion, it is critical that both they and the attendees understand the actual law as it applies and is currently in force in the Cayman Islands today and what the current medical experts’ views are across the globe,” the organisation stated.
Bains and Gibbs will be joined by local Pastor Alson Ebanks as headline speakers at the rally. A number of politicians are also expected to speak at the Lion’s Centre, including Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush and Bodden Town MLA Tony Eden, who resigned from the PPM when the premier suggested that the immigration law may have to be amended to prevent discrimination against LGBTs.
Eden has led the political charge against bestowing any legal rights on LGBT people but has denied allegations of hate speech against the community, even though he described them as “evil” during several debates in the Legislative Assembly over the last year.
There will be an interactive panel discussion with the speakers that will take questions from the audience via text or written questions. It will be moderated by Pastor Shion O’Connor, the president of the Cayman Islands Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and chair of the religious committee organising the anti-gay rally.
No one from the LBGT community has been invited to speak. Philippa Davies, an advocacy officer for the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society, will also be on the panel. She is also on the conservative Christian right and supports the criminalisation of buggery.
The controversial event is being organised by a coalition of local churches and their ministers. While the issue of all ‘family related sin’ is said to be on the agenda, as is the case in conservative Christian communities around the world, the central focus is homosexuality. The church organisations, however, have been criticised in Cayman for that skewed focus and ignoring, even turning a blind eye to, the historic child abuse that has been a blight on the local society for years.
While the police and other agencies have been much more focused recently on bringing perpetrators to justice, there is far less social stigma and church condemnation against much older men dating teenage girls below the age of consent while vociferously attacking consensual and loving relationships in the gay and transgender community.
Category: Local News