Cayman's human rights issues to be aired internationally

The gay law professor at the center of an immigration test case challenging the unequal treatment of homosexuals in the Cayman Islands has been invited to make a presentation on the issue to the International Bar Association. 

Leonardo Raznovich will speak before the association of lawyers from across the world at its annual conference in Vienna in October. 

He said he would highlight the situation in the Cayman Islands to the world’s legal fraternity. 

“We have a decision at the moment in which the jurisdiction is in clear breach of the European Convention on Human Rights,” he said. “Nobody is talking about same-sex marriage here; we are talking about basic rights – equal age of consent, protection in employment, equal immigration rights.” 

He said a legal framework for some sort of registration of same-sex partnerships is also now required by the European Court of Human Rights. The court’s decisions ultimately extend to Cayman because of its territorial relationship with the U.K. 

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“It is time for the jurisdiction to adopt the right rules to comply with its international obligations. I’m really grateful to have the chance to present the case of what is going on here to the International Bar Association.” 

Mr. Raznovich, who helped students organize a series of public lectures on the issue earlier this year, was told in June that his contract with the Truman Bodden Law School was not being renewed. 

His British partner of 16 years has submitted an application to have him listed as a dependent on his work permit. The Immigration Board refused the application, indicating it did not have the power to accommodate the request. Now the lecturer has been given a visitor’s permit pending his appeal. 

He said he had not sought to be an activist on the issue. 

“I am not comfortable with it,” he said. “What I’d really like is for the government to take action and to understand that the only thing I’m asking for is compliance with the rule of law.” 

Leonardo Raznovich, speaking earlier this year at the Truman Bodden Law School lecture, which he helped organize. - Photo: James Whittaker

Leonardo Raznovich, speaking earlier this year at the Truman Bodden Law School lecture, which he helped organize. – Photo: James Whittaker
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  1. There is a law in Cayman whereby you can buy property, and own your home when you build it. There are house rules where you your families and friends abide by, where you can cook, sleep, clean, change the color of the walls, plant trees, rent a room, entertain, and the list goes on; because it is your home and you own it. One day you wake up and decide to burn it down, and see whose house it becomes. The government RCIP becomes involved.
    The Cayman Islands belongs to the people of Cayman to do those same things because we own our properties here, we own our churches, schools and so on; however we or no one else are not allowed to set the town on fire. So why in the world are people who are not a welcome member of my home nor my island, wants to set the place on fire? Mr. Raznovish, my question to you is, how can you say that you are not trying to be an activist on this issue? Why Cayman? When you were given the opportunity to bake bread and eat here for two years. Lived in our homes, enjoy the tranquility of the island, enjoy our beaches, our restaurants; and then for what it is worth, and respect for whom ever you may claim to be, why would you want to set mental fire to our tiny island when you could have chosen somewhere else?
    What is it you hope to achieve by hanging us out to dry on an international clothes line? I am sure you and your husband could never want to live here after all this. I would not. We have an old saying in Cayman, that if the "dirt does not come out in the wash, we will get it in the rinse water."
    To the government and people of these Islands I say, hold fast, consider carefully for the future of every young child on this island, because you will pass this way but once, while bearing in mind at some point in time you WILL have to answer to a HIGHER CALL.

  2. Mr. Raznovich says that the issue is not about same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands but about equal age of consent, protection in employment, and equal immigration rights.
    The problem with that argument is that because the country does not recognize same-sex marriage the basis for him to stay in Cayman because he is married to someone that does have a work permit is invalid. He is essentially asking the country to accept same-sex marriage and the issue is about same-sex marriage in the Cayman Islands.
    If the issue here is about equality and about the rights of consenting adults to love who they want to love and to marry who they want to marry then we also must accept that it is not impossible for one man and two women to love each other or for one woman and three men to love each other, etc., etc. As such, the Cayman Islands would need to accept all types of marriage or they would still be discriminating against some groups of consenting adults.

  3. Compliance with whose rule of law? We can’t dictate to the EU so why would they be able to dictate to the Cayman Islands? The lawyer’s need to be careful here, they might show the EU how to demand more information on people who have large amounts of money here from the EU states and this will impact their bottom line.

  4. Cayman has a long way to go before changing its laws to accept same-sex marriage. Mr Raznovich is feeling sore that his contract has not been renewed (for whatever reasons)and the husband wants Mr Raznovich to be added as a dependent on the husband’s work permit. Immigration is not prepared for that and nothing can be done until the laws are changed. Unfortunately, Mr Raznovich you will have to leave the island, then return as a visitor, then leave again, then return….I know, it sucks but face it man,you’ve got no other choice (for now). Immigration cannot simply make Mr Raznovich stay as a dependant on his husband’s work permit because no such same sex marriage law exists on the islands and even if it were so, it is up to Immigration to decide who stays and who should leave. The laws will have to change eventually and until such time we’ll just have to accept what is.

  5. Twyla Vargas should be aware that the"Higher Call" she refers to is the call to be decent and respectful to all people regardless of their sexual orientation.
    The only effect this could have on children is that perhaps some gay child may be convinced that the stupidity of religion is sick and that they shouldn’t kill themselves because some evil preacher says they are not god’s creations because of their sexuality.