(CNS): Deputy Governor Franz Manderson has echoed the comments made by Governor Helen Kilpatrick before she left the Cayman Islands about the need for the government to address the inequities surrounding the relationships of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Although the issue remains controversial, Manderson said this was something that was “not going to go away”.
Speaking to the press at Kilpatrick’s farewell reception at the airport Monday, just before she left the country, Manderson said that the issue had been at the forefront of her agenda as it was part of her mandate from the UK to ensure human rights across the territories.
“So it means that this is something that is not going to go away and something that we are going to have to address …at some stage, fairly quickly. We are going to have to turn our minds to it and make some hard decisions,” he said.
Manderson said that Cayman will likely look at what Bermuda had done.
That territory opted to introduce marriage equality, but just months later became the first nation in the world that had introduced same-sex marriage to overturn the legislation, replacing it with same-sex civil unions. Although this move was was heavily criticised, the UK assented to the bill, indicating that this would be an acceptable compromise for the territories to introduce.
The majority of the Legislative Assembly membership remains adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage. But although most MLAs do not want to be seen supporting the concept of legal same-sex partnerships or civil unions, a number of them, speaking off record, are beginning to accept the idea that it is only a matter of time.
There has been a marked shift in the national conversation on the issue of same-sex unions, which was once dominated by staunchly conservative views. There are now clear voices in the community calling for equality, especially from activist groups like Colours Cayman.
There also appears to be a generational divide in Cayman, as is the case in most countries where some form of legal civil unions has been created for the LGBTI community or where activists are campaigning for marriage equality.