By Ralph Lewis
“Stand up, Stand up for Jesus”. This song by writer George Duffield was heard reverberating around the Legislative Assembly at 6pm last Saturday, April 13, by more than 1,000 Christians, family and supporters as they ended their rally which enforced their stand against same-sex marriage.
The rally, organized by a number of local churches, featured stirring speeches by, among others, Pastor Alson Ebanks, Pastor Torrance Bobb, keynote speaker Pastor Andrew Ebanks, and guest speaker Helene Cooley-Nicholson, President, LDF, JA.
Quite noticeable was the presence of many members of the Legislative Assembly in front row seats.
According to Ms. Jackie Ebanks, the local Movement was started from a WhatsApp Group which she dubbed CAYMAN CARRIBBEAN CAUSE stemming from a bigger mother group called CARRIBBEAN CAUSE which she was invited to join.
This is a group of concerned, well-read and informed doctors, lawyers and pastors from all across the Caribbean discussing this very critical issue.
Thanks to their spokesperson Katina Anglin, they have taken this to a MOVEMENT where they plan to fight to preserve Christian values in the Cayman Islands.
“A wonderful event just concluded in central George Town,” said Mario Ebanks on his Facebook page.
“A Rally to support family values, our Christian heritage, the rule of Law, the important doctrine of Separation of Powers, and the fundamentals of the Cayman Islands Constitution.
He described “a fantastic turn-out from a broad cross-section of our diverse population; those who love Cayman and embrace its culture and heritage, and who celebrate our Coat of Arms which states ‘He has Founded it Upon the Seas’...which in itself comes from the Holy Bible. Blessings and Love to All.”
Mr. Ebanks was not the only Caymanian to voice his endorsement.
Visitors’ pages on social media have been inundated with support for the sanctity of marriage as it stands today.
These recent events drew encouragement from both sides of a court decision was triggered by a landmark judgement delivered on a milestone human rights case when Chief Justice Anthony Smellie legalized same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands.
Petitioners Chantelle Day and Vicki Bodden-Bush had said that their constitutional right to marry and found a family had been denied under existing law which prevented them from legally marrying in the Cayman Islands. In his judgement, the Chief Justice outlined the ways in which the couple’s basic human rights had been violated when they were refused a marriage license.
Day and Bodden-Bush had said that the present state of the Marriage Law violated their Constitutional rights, specifically, their rights to a private and family life, including the right to found a family; to freedom of conscience, and perhaps most profoundly, to freedom from unjustifiable discrimination on the grounds of status; namely, their sexual orientation.
On Wednesday April 10, the Cayman Islands Appeals Court delayed the implementation of same-sex marriage legalization.
The Court of Appeal accepted a government request to halt the legalization of same-sex marriage that Chief Justice Anthony Smellie of the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands ruled with immediate effect in a historic ruling on March 29.
The Premier and Cabinet had instructed the Attorney General to pursue an appeal against the judgement and to seek a stay of execution pending the outcome of the appeal.
The couple was due to become the first married same-sex couple in the Cayman Islands last week, but will instead have to wait at least until August, when the Court of Appeal will hear the government’s argument and decide whether the March 29 ruling should stand.
The last verse of George Duffield’s song holds out a promise of peace, saying that “the strife will not be long.” From the feedback and responses, it is clear that the attendees believe that they will be victorious.
In August 2015, approximately 4 years ago, The Caymanian Times (formerly Cayman Weekly) published an article entitled, Destination Weddings and Same-Sex Marriages.
A review of the article which is published below highlights the visionary thinking of our publisher and also the position taken by this publication on this issue.
Destination Weddings and Same-Sex Marriages
The Cayman Islands have established a strong reputation for Destination Weddings and over the years, locals and businesses involved in this section of the tourism industry have benefited financially.
Attendees and workers at these events may have noticed an increase in the roles that individuals of different sexual orientations play. One such event included a male maid of honour which was accepted at the wedding ceremony and celebration.
In June 2015, The Supreme Court in the United States ruled 5-4 that the Constitution requires that same-sex couples be allowed to marry no matter where they live and that states may no longer reserve the right only for heterosexual couples.
No doubt many couples, their families and friends will be planning future weddings and honeymoons that may arrive at our shores.
Local Legislation does not allow for same sex marriages and those requests from couples will be declined. However, same sex couples are allowed to live and vacation in this paradise and one can anticipate future requests to amend laws accordingly.
The world has become a global village and the Cayman Islands does not exist in isolation. Furthermore, we are a British Dependent Territory whose laws will be influenced by the Mother county.
As Human Rights progresses to the forefront of Society, we can expect our strong Christian principles to be challenged and legislators will have a fight on their hands similar to the one that was fought in the US.
We do believe we have responsibility for personal decisions and whatever choice we make will be between an individual and his creator. For those of us with strong Christian beliefs, the challenge will be to demonstrate our faith within a changing society with differing perceptions and beliefs of values and living standards.