(CNS): Colours Cayman has accused government of effectively deporting gay Caymanians because same-sex spouses of local people have been refused residency rights as dependents. The activists raised further concerns with the European Union this week that Britain’s territories are continuing to discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community following a decision in Bermuda to roll back previously legislated marriage rights and further discrimination in Cayman, with same-sex couples being driven out of their own country in order to live as a family with their spouse.
In a release about its efforts to petition the EU to push the UK to address the inequities in the British Overseas Territories regarding same-sex marriage, Colours said two couples in Cayman are facing specific discrimination because the Caymanian Status and Residency Board has refused to give dependency rights to same-sex partners legally married to a Caymanian, undermining their right to a family life. One of the couples has been forced to live in Canada, where their marriage is recognised, Colours stated.
Both couples have appealed to the Immigration Appeal Tribunal.
“The grounds of such rejection are exceptionally concerning,” Colours stated in its release, especially in light of the decision by the Immigration Appeals Tribunal in a case last year to allow same-sex spouses of foreign workers to reside in the Cayman Islands as a dependent.
The problem results from the fact that the government refuses to recognise a legal gay marriage here if one of the spouses is Caymanian because same-sex marriage remains illegal in this jurisdiction, even though it is legal in the UK.
“The practical effect of this rejection is that the immigration authority is recognising the rights of foreigners before Caymanians by forcing Caymanian people out of their homeland in order to live with the person they have legally married. In effect, the Immigration Authority is deporting Caymanians to live overseas where they can live as a family. This may sound like a joke, but it’s the appalling effect of the rejection,” Colours stated.
The release also pointed to the retrograde step in Bermuda and Colours’ concern that the UK does not plan to step in. The new legal framework in that jurisdiction for same-sex couples, termed “domestic partnership”, is too late, the activists said, as it will result in the withdrawal of legally established rights from a section of its population.
“It is shocking that this can happen under the UK’s watch and control. In effect, this amounts to legal segregation, which, as we know from modern history, can have profound social and psychological consequences,” Colours added.
Category: Local News