Religious freedom, LGBTI people and MLAs

| 12/02/2020 | 63 Comments

Dr Leonardo Raznovich writes: A person that is struggling with their sexual orientation may often feel lonely, vulnerable and confused. They may also feel a sense of rejection from society or may even be ostracised by their friends, family and loved ones, people to whom they would ordinarily first look for guidance and support. This loneliness, vulnerability, confusion, rejection and ostracisation can, and often does, lead to anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and other mental health problems, potentially resulting in acute mental and physical harm.

For many years now, such people in Cayman have, to differing degrees, endured these intolerances from family, friends and society more broadly, including government officials and elected politicians. We also frequently hear and read in the news, on social media or even from discussions in the Legislative Assembly, reassurances that Cayman does not have widespread hate crime, physical abuse or denial of goods and services that are directed at LGBTI people.

Any notion that this lack of physical harm or segregating treatment should bring comfort, however, is wholly misguided at very best. It overlooks the brutality of ignorance. The pain that is inflicted when friends, family and society lack understanding, distance themselves or actively exclude LGBTI people from their lives, treating them differently or less worthy of their love and support.

Everyone deserves to love and to be loved. To withdraw that leads to unquantifiable harm, not just on the individual, but on persons proximate to them as a result of deteriorating relationships and social interactions, resulting in wider harm to society as a whole.

It is for these reasons that I read with great sadness the news regarding the private members’ motion put forward in the Legislative Assembly by legislator Anthony Eden and the underlying justifications and discussions for bringing forward such motion.

Had the comments and motion been rejected in the LA I would have, reluctantly, accepted that this was just one more example of such elected member’s state of mind and view on these matters. Regrettably, however, the motion was supported and passed.

Merely to hint at placing any burden of blame on gays or other LGBTI people for the unnerving earthquake we all experienced in Cayman recently, past destructive hurricanes, or the challenges faced globally by the coronavirus is profoundly wrong, but when the government endorses this position it becomes a matter of even more extreme concern.

Fortunately, many LGBTI people have the fortitude, knowledge and support networks to weather such nonsense, but there will be many that do not. There may be some that find themselves in particularly unsupportive environments and some for whom mental health is already an ongoing struggle. 

For any of those persons, however, to have to shoulder any degree of blame for natural disasters or global health emergencies is not acceptable and is reminiscent of mechanisms used to control people through anxiety and to turn the population at large against an oppressed and already vulnerable and suffering minority.

Take, by way of example, the extensive massacre of the Jews during the 14th century resulting from blame for spread of the Black Death. We no longer live in those times. We are more enlightened. Politicians need to start thinking more about humanity’s evolution, about history and the consequences of their words and actions, setting a better example, particularly for the younger generation. 

Religion is not the exclusive domain of any one faith nor any particular denomination of such faith. There will always be different interpretations and different ways in which one observes and expresses their faith, if any, and whatever faith it may be. That is why freedom of religion is important, especially, in any democratic society.

Freedom of religion does not, however, serve as a tool with which to disrespect or take away anyone’s rights to be visible, loved, accepted and treated with equal worth by society and under the eyes of the law. This is a line that should never be crossed and certainly not by persons of power and influence benefiting from unlimited parliamentary immunity and privileges.

In response to: MLAs use privilege to deride gay rights


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Category: Viewpoint

Comments (63)

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  1. CayStar says:

    Do anyone notice that his Viewpoint on behalf of “oppressed” LGBTI folk, does not address what the private member’s motion brought by Minister Anthony Eden really entails? To reiterate, the motion itself AFFIRMS to the effect: –

    “that expressions of Christian doctrine and scriptures by Christian organisations and individuals is a right protected by the Cayman Islands Constitution Order 2009”

    You see, I try to look at the positive and not the negative. The article expresses sadness on the religious reasons behind the motion. But to me, the motion affirms a good thing, which shouldn’t be swept under the rug.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    The root of the problem is ignorant people believe gay people choose to be gay. So let me ask some of you straight posters tell me exactly when you decided you were going to be straight? Do you recall? You don’t because the choice was made for you and you knew from a child that you were attracted to the opposite sex. So what makes you think gay people are so special that they were given a choice. No one chooses their sexuality or sexual preference, or the color of their skin. It is decided by our creator. The sooner you can grasp that the better. Not that hard really.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Our Cabinet and MLAs wasted so much productive time in 2019, with two full sessions spent actively ranting against the Rights of Caymanians, that they literally expired the clock on a deadline to put forth legislation which might have spared us the EU Blacklisting by the end of 2019. We can read the final warning delivered from Brussels in November 2019, when Tara chose instead to fly to Hollywood. You can’t make this stuff up. Anywhere else, Tara would be compelled by her party to resign in disgrace, and Alden would make a statement to that effect, but he can’t, because they were ALL culpable. That’s the true cost of idiocy. I hope voters understand this has real-life consequences. Here they are!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Churches are the root of all evil and hatred. Brainwashing the less mentally able into judging others, blackmailing others, hating others. Is that what the Good Lord intended? Hell no. He was all about love and precious little of that on this page or in these Islands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hitler wasn’t religious and a million Jews were exterminated.

      • Anonymous says:

        @ 8:13pm Can you imagine the amount of people within the Caribbean that were exterminated in the name of Christianity when it was forced upon our ancestors?

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am truly embarrassed to be a caymanian.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    I agree with much of Mr. Raznovich’s article, however, I don’t agree where he says everyone deserves love and to be loved. I do think that everyone deserves the right to live out their lives in and seek happiness in manners they see fit (provided they don’t infringe on the rights of others). If I find happiness in the arms of another man and want to build my life with that person, I should have to right to do so, not necessarily due to some airy notion that I deserve or am entitled to the love and acceptance of others.

    As a gay man, who is fully supportive of same-sex marriage in Cayman (for obvious reasons), I do think this is where Mr. Raznovich’s verbiage doesn’t help matters. There is already a perception that the LGBT people are “forcing/pushing” their ‘lifestyles’ onto the straight masses. Saying that everyone “deserves” to be loved is misguided – it sends a subliminal message of entitlement.

    The quickest way to get someone to hate something is to force feed them. The pendulum of homophobia has swung so far to the other extreme that many straight people perceive LGBT people often talking of “accept us…love us…be with us…see us…” that it turns people off. I don’t need you to accept my lifestyle. We don’t need to be friends. You and I can be neighbors and we each mind our own business. Just allow me to build that life with my man with all the legal benefits that you enjoy and leave me alone.

    I’ve said it before: either we live in a free society or we do not. You should be free to believe whatever you want and I should be free to love whomever I want. Anything short of that is not a “free society”.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are a sensible and level headed human being.

      My thoughts exactly.

      Thanks!

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    • Anonymous says:

      I think you fundamentally misunderstand that particular point which I believe was that everyone person should be able to love and be loved by another person, not that everyone deserves the love of others, which is utterly misinterpreting and nonsensical!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Surely the point is that some Caymanians are NOT free to build their life with the partner they love because of the attitudes of MLAs like Eden and Suckoo. And simply keeping quiet is not going to change that. If you are a carpet you’re get walked on. Name a major social change in history that was achieved without protest.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    For all the religious people who are fearful: If two women or two men decide to get married, it doesn’t mean that two heterosexual people all of a sudden can’t. It simply means, another set of people get to enjoy the legal benefits and responsibilities that come with marriage. That’s it. There will be no fire and brimstone from above. There will be no mass raping of children. There will be no sudden outbreak of disease. There will be none of that. The only thing I can think of that may happen is closeted men and women who are already married may divorce their opposite-sex spouses to marry who they really want.

    Same-sex marriage will strengthen the institution of marriage, not weaken it.

    For me, the solution is simple. Put legislation in place protecting the churches and other religious institutions from having to perform wedding ceremonies that are clearly against their teachings. If a church does not want to allow same-sex couples in their congregations, then they should have the right to do so. Outside of that, let people live their lives.

    I swear, I really don’t know how else to put it. I guess I can only ask, what are you afraid will happen once same-sex marriage is implemented?

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    • Jus Sayin says:

      The problem is, you can’t have “gay laws” and cater to their benefits, and then protect churches and certain constitutional rights AT THE SAME TIME. That’s why many intelligent people reject same-sex marriage nd civil unions. If the lgbt side would just put self-interest aside and listen to what the intelligencia of society says, they would see clearly.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Yes we can. Once you remember that it’s all about love and equality. Not about separation and discrimination which you insist on. What makes you so special to enjoy the rights you have and insist of depriving others of them? My marriage license is in no way going to affect you or anyone else. Why is this so difficult to comprehend?

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  8. Born Cym says:

    I see alot of haters from the lgbt side. O how they hate our culture as it is.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Is Cym one of the new expressions for some alternative form of sexual or gender identity? There are so many these days that I get lost. And were you really born that way? Or was it a lifestyle choice like Mr Eden believes?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Well Said Sir, thank you for saying what the Governor and intelligent educated MLA’s should be saying. They all should be hanging their heads in shame.

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  10. John Harris says:

    The depressing thing about Anthony Eden’s latest contribution is not what he said. We are used to his nonsense and he won’t change. The problem is that nobody else in the LA had the courage to contradict him or gainsay his hate. And where is our Governor in all of this? We can only assume from his silence that he condones Eden’s outbursts.

    Cayman should be ashamed.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with you 100%

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    • Anonymous says:

      People need to remember that they are politicians first and everything else after. Their primary goal is to stay in power, and since the only way for them to stay in power (in democratic countries anyway) is by pandering to their constituents, they will grand-stand, and chest-beat, and virtue-signal in ways that appeal to their power base.

      The problem is not them, the problem is wider society as a whole. People vote for leaders that beat reflect them.

      – Selah

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    • Anonymous says:

      And yet as you can see from the thumbs up/down they and their representatives are not.

  11. tekka says:

    To my fellow homosexual Caymanians, I’m sorry that many other Christians like Eden and Julianna have portrayed a hypocritical, bigoted and hateful version of Christianity. They pick and choose leviticus to refute homosexuals while eating conch – the hypocrites!

    Let me pick and choose verses for my homosexual Caymanian brothers and sisters. One love.

    John 4:20-21

    20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.

    James 4:11

    11 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Who are you to tell two Caymanian adults they can consent to have legal gay sex but can’t have hospital visitation rights like us?

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    • J|) says:

      The bible bots have come out to play early today, tekka. Shall we play, too?

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    • Jane Doe says:

      Don’t quote from the Bible what is convenient for the occasion. How about Leviticus 18:22

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      • Anonymous says:

        Muppet, missed the entire point. Can you read? Or in too much of a hurry to put others down, despite your good ol’ Christian upbringing. There is only one judge, and it sure as hell is not you.

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  12. hits nail on head says:

    Dr. Raznovich hits the nail on the head. What a disgrace that there are people as grotesquely ignorant as Anthony Eden, who compounds his ignorance by loudly proclaiming it. Wake up Anthony. Your gaybashing is NOT helping Christianity or any other religion. You are merely spreading hate. Ditto for all you MLAs who supported his meanspirited motion. Way to go: You’re showing the world the true meaning of “Caymankind”…

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  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree everyone should be respected whether of ones beliefs or their way of life. However, I’m concerned that if everyone agrees to be gay then wouldn’t this mean the end of mankind? There must be some reason why God made man and then woman? If we go changing every law on the books for one beliefs then we all would be subjected to some form of alienation. I truly believe Cayman is a blessed country for what we believe and have faith in. Any deviation to this faith would subject this country to many other beliefs such as prostitution, bigamy, gambling, human trafficking and the list goes on. Remember not because one decides to condone or live a certain lifestyle, doesn’t mean everyone should buy into. Let’s say I woke up today and I’m adamant that bigamy should be passed into law because that is my belief and my choice to this lifestyle, would you clap and cheer Dr. Raznovich? Let’s say I wouldn’t dare attempt to live in a Muslim country and tell them they shouldn’t have more than one wife. I would accept their way of life, acclimate and enjoy what their culture offers.

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    • Anonymous says:

      What does it take for some of you to understand that being gay is not a choice? Not a decision and not something you wake up to one lovely morning and decide for yourself to do.There is so much mixed in this comment of yours that it makes no sense to even argue. Good Lord….

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    • John Harris says:

      Being gay isn’t a ‘lifestyle’ or a choice.

      Being an ignorant, hateful bigot is.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Whether I was born gay, made gay, or chose to be gay, the fact is I am gay and I’m not changing to suit anyone.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Wah you been smokin bobo? That has to be one of the most insane posts I’ve read on CNS.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Gay sex has been legal in Cayman for decades. They can bonk in a bedroom but not commit to each other?

      I’m a heterosexual with no problem if two gay people want to marry. Did that stop me from proposing to my girlfriend? Nope. Get over yourself.

      That bigamy/prostitution to follow argument is dumb too. Because we allow the sale of alcohol does that mean everyone will turn into a crackhead?

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      • George Towner says:

        And did you went through the courts with your girlfriend and sought to have your union recognized by force of law?

        No, you did not 😉

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      • Anonymous says:

        Quite apart from the fact that gambling and prostitution are already established here and I seem to recall we have had a criminal prosecution for bigamy as well. Perhaps that’s all the gays fault too, along with the traffic jams, the EU blacklist and turning Snitch Cove into a parking lot.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “However, I’m concerned that if everyone agrees to be gay then wouldn’t this mean the end of mankind?”

      Being gay isn’t an agreement. Gay people will be gay regardless and straight people will be straight regardless. Straight people aren’t dying out any time soon.

      “Let’s say I wouldn’t dare attempt to live in a Muslim country and tell them they shouldn’t have more than one wife. I would accept their way of life, acclimate and enjoy what their culture offers.”

      No one is trying to make it so you can’t marry a woman or that you have to marry a man.

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    • Al Catraz says:

      “if everyone agrees to be gay then wouldn’t this mean the end of mankind?”

      What if everyone who is not gay agrees to use birth control? It would be the end of mankind. Accordingly, we must ban condoms immediately to wipe out this threat to the human race.

      Are you saying that the only reason straight people have children is because the law does not allow gay people to marry?

      That is the only reason your parents had you? Really?

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    • Anon KY says:

      1. “However, I’m concerned that if everyone agrees to be gay then wouldn’t this mean the end of mankind?” So if marriage/civil unions between homosexual couples is made legal, we will all have to ‘agree’ that we are gay.. right. ok, got it. I mean, personally i’m straight and nobody could ‘convince’ me otherwise but i’ll hear you out for the sake of argument.
      2. “If we go changing every law on the books for one beliefs then we all would be subjected to some form of alienation.” What beliefs are we talking about here just so that we’re all on the same page. I thought this was about human rights not ‘beliefs’?
      3. “I truly believe Cayman is a blessed country for what we believe and have faith in” something i can agree on but in no way is anybody pounding on the doors of the Church demanding marriage. that would be completely up to the Pastor, Priest etc. of said Church to agree to.
      4. “Any deviation to this faith would subject this country to many other beliefs such as prostitution, bigamy, gambling, human trafficking and the list goes on” And the other ‘deviations’ that we have made are ok? Divorce? Adultery? Slavery? have a good read of the bible for me. You’d be surprised at what luxuries we enjoy today that came from ‘deviations of faith’. We need to be good to each other.
      5. “Let’s say I wouldn’t dare attempt to live in a Muslim country and tell them they shouldn’t have more than one wife. I would accept their way of life, acclimate and enjoy what their culture offers.” Please google ‘Polygyny in Islam’, your ignorance is showing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      everyone keep calm and do not feed the troll!

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    • Anonymous says:

      And this, my friends, is an example of a logical non sequitur.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Fools multiply when wise man are silent… Nelson Mandela

    I think in these islands the problem now is there are way more fools than wise men.

    Eden’s outburst in the LA is comparable to someone in the UK blaming the recent devastation of Storm Ciara and the approaching Storm Dennis on Brexit – anyone who tried that would be ripped apart by the media. The impression I get is that everyone else in the LA was top scared to stand up against him and that raises more than a few questions. Like, ‘What does Eden know about them that we don’t?’

    It’s interesting to speculate how the late Desmond Seales would have reacted. I knew him fairly well and suspect his editorial response would have been rather less than kind – in fact it would have most likely have been downright brutal.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    I like this!

    Attention people: You don’t have to agree with what people do, but please, just respect them as a human being and carry on with your life. Because no one is no place to judge others.

    Even those who don’t agree with LGBT people, you have to admit the comments Eden made were just ethically wrong, especially him being a person with influence in the country. There may be young people who are trying to figure out their sexual preference and the comments he made could very well have affected them. They’re families may already not have a good relationship with them and Eden’s comments may have made it worse. You never know what’s going behind close doors. Please, just be kind to these people, we really don’t have any idea what they’re going through.

    Trust me, if some of them wanted to change they would, but they honestly can’t. Again, you don’t have to agree with them but just be kind! 🙂

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    • Anonymous says:

      There shouldn’t be any disagreement about how someone was born. The problem is institutionalized, and politically endorsed oppression of earthly rights against those deemed to be worthy of less than their due. The judiciary has already decided this issue, and the law makers dither and harp back to some bygone era, or future appeal venue, where alternate imaginary legal precedents exist. That’s insanity. I’m tired of paying for government’s losing cases.

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    • JTB says:

      ‘Ethically wrong’ is one way to describe Eden’s comments, I suppose.

      Personally, I’d go for ‘batshit cray cray’

      The fact that his absurd, hateful rants are encouraged and supported by so many, in the LA and without, should be deeply shaming to us all.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Is he hating you or the LGBT drive? Not too smart. Please explain how he is hating “people”?

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        • Anonymous says:

          Well, you could say it’s when he says that they are engaged in “deviant behaviour”, or that homosexuality is a “social and moral evil”, but perhaps the more direct threats to use his shotgun on any homosexual s coming anywhere near his family. I don’t know about you, but being told I was a deviant, socially and morally evil, that I could get shot for going near someone’s property just because of my sexual identity might just make me feel hated on. Before we get on to the more esoteric points of not being allowed the same civil rights as others, or being told that letting my get married to my live one would leave society towards paedophilia and bestiality. But hey, maybe you have a broader view of hate speech. Or in your world are there differences between “good” hate speech that targets minorities you don’t like, and those that you do or are a member of.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Zzzzz … the same freedom of speech targets Jews, Muslims, and Christians. And enough hate speech here against Christians and Mr. Eden. But thank God for free speech. An lgbti judicial dictatorship will not be the answer though😎 That would be less democracy, wouldn’t you think?

        • JTB says:

          He’s not hating me – unless he hates me for calling out his weird, disturbing obsession with other people’s love lives. My wife and child would be startled if I announced I was going to marry another man I’m sure.

          But the fact I’m not gay doesn’t preclude me being enraged at the sheer malevolent bigotry that Eden embodies. He’s a cancer on our public life. Never mind supporting him – anyone who fails to speak out against his hatred should be ashamed of themselves.

          As has been often said, all that’s required for evil to prosper is that good men do nothing. Well, anyone who professes to believe in the Christian virtues of love and compassion should be speak8ng out against this evil man.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I wholeheartedly agree with your comments.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Yes!

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