A founding member of the People’s Progressive Movement political party left the organization Thursday after a months-long dispute over the legal acceptance of same-sex unions in the Cayman Islands.
Bodden Town MLA Anthony Eden, 70, indicated he would become an independent lawmaker and sit on the other side of the Legislative Assembly when the House next meets.
“I have been contemplating in regards to the completeness of the discussion of the premier on same-sex marriage,” Mr. Eden said. “I will take this opportunity to say to this House and my constituents I will no longer sit as a part of the PPM backbench. In the next meeting I will sit on the other side of the floor.”
Progressives party leader, Premier Alden McLaughlin said Friday that Mr. Eden’s departure left him disappointed, although it was “not entirely unexpected.”
“Tony Eden has been, and will continue to be, an exceptional representative of the people of Bodden Town and an outstanding member of the Legislative Assembly,” Premier McLaughlin said. “I know he will continue to serve the people of these islands well, no matter where he sits in the House.”
Mr. Eden left the PPM a few hours after Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin announced government’s intention to change Immigration Law regulations “as a matter of urgency” to allow same-sex partners to remain in Cayman as dependants on their partner’s work permit.
The “test case” for this issue, involves former Cayman Islands law school professor Dr. Leonardo Raznovich, whose application to remain in Cayman as a dependant of his partner was denied by the Immigration Department. Since then, both Argentinian and British government officials have written to the Cayman Islands government urging local politicians to reverse their position in the matter.
For now, Mr. McLaughlin said, the change in immigration rules would not be expanded to a wholesale acceptance of civil unions in the law because he believes government has “no mandate” to do so.
However, the premier indicated Thursday that the times are changing: “This is a train that is not going to stop coming. It has long left the station.”
For more on this story, see Monday’s Cayman Compass.