Following the Governor’s use Section 81 of the of the Cayman Islands Constitution to push through the Domestic Partnership Bill on Monday 11 August, the Caymanian Times invited a cross-section of Christian minsters to offer their views, both about the Bill itself, as well as the nature of Governor’s intervention. The Domestic Partnership Bill 2020 failed to be passed by the Legislative Assembly on 29 July, by just one vote. The Bill’s objectives were, broadly, to provide a legal equivalent to marriage for same-sex couples.
All the ministers interviewed were critical of both the bill itself, and the Governor’s intervention, and some questioned his constitutional right to overrule the Legislative Assembly vote.
Pastor Torrance Bobb, Chairman of the Cayman Ministers Association, said, “The scripture is in very direct in its opposition to any accommodation for same sex couples. Because scripture clearly condemns homosexuality, and we believe that, this being a Christian-based nation, where we rely on the Bible for guidance, the bible even forming the foundation of our laws, that it is contradictory.
“I am speaking on my own behalf and I am speaking on behalf of over 40 pastors who gathered together in a meeting last year …and that our primary concern is that this is going clearly against the teaching of scripture. This is going against the culture that has been observed in this nation from the time that it started. It is sweeping aside the very foundation on which human life and human family and human sexuality is built. Those are the primary grounds on which I am in opposition to it.
“The British Government, and the so called civilized world, has been pushing this and will continue to push it, and there is an international agenda that is also being pushed by Britain and of course the Governor as well, and we believe that this is not in the best interests of the Cayman Islands.”
Andrew Ebanks, who Pastor of the Agape Family Worship Centre, and member of the Cayman Islands Ministers Association, said, “Reading the bill, it seems to me that the bill did not differ much from marriage. I think it fell short of differentiating itself in any meaningful way.
“Our constitution enshrines our commitment as a nation to hold true to, and allow, biblical principles to guide us…while there are many reasons to keep unions between men and women one of the most important, in my view, is the family. Many studies on the family have proven that the best and healthiest form of the family is a father, mother and children growing together.
“While I was not surprised (at the Governor’s intervention), I am extremely disappointed. This bill has many flaws which were mentioned in the debate and beforehand. If the only answer that would have been acceptable was a ‘Yes’ then what is the point of having elected officials to represent us? Why have them vote on the bill? Sure, the Governor seems to have been given the constitutional power to do this but to force us to accept something without any proper input or say from the country I think is a tragedy.”
Bishop Nicholas Sykes also commented on the Governor’s intervention, “Any power that the Governor may have, should be used very seldom. This sort of issue is one that is so fundamental because it is to do with the structure of families. You cannot say that you have the right to do these things when the citizenry of a community have expressed their views on more than one occasion. When we are talking about marriage we are talking about marriage between a man and a woman. When you start saying, ‘A man and and man is marriage, or a woman and a woman,’ what you are doing is changing a fundamental reality.”
Pastor Gareth Haylock also spoke strongly against the Governor’s intervention, describing both the Governor’s actions and the actions of the British Government to “Bullying,” and comparing it to the way that China has bullied Hong Kong.