Gay couple wins work permit appeal

Leonardo Raznovich spoke at the recent Queering Paradigms conference on LGBT issues in the Caribbean.

Ruling in favor of a same-sex couple, the Immigration Appeals Tribunal granted Leonardo Raznovich’s application to be added to his spouse’s work permit as a dependent. The decision ends 14 months of applications and appeals to the Immigration Department.

Mr. Raznovich and his husband, who works for Maples and Calder, waited for more than eight months for the appeal decision after the Immigration Department originally rejected the application to put same-sex partners on the same work permit.

The ruling, which could potentially be appealed to Grand Court, recognizes the men’s foreign marriage as it does for traditional marriages, but does not change the local definition of marriage. The tribunal’s decision sets a precedent for adding a same-sex spouse to a work permit as a dependent.

Mr. Raznovich announced the decision Friday in an email to the media. He said, “This is a triumph of natural justice and reflects a profound respect for the rule of law. In the written words of the Tribunal, ‘The Constitution of the Cayman Islands leaves no room for them or the Board to discriminate in circumstances where the current law of the Cayman Islands provides room to grant our application.’”

“Love and equality have prevailed,” he said.

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Leonardo Raznovich spoke at the recent Queering Paradigms conference on LGBT issues in the Caribbean.
Leonardo Raznovich spoke at the recent Queering Paradigms conference on LGBT issues in the Caribbean.

Mr. Raznovich, a former lecturer at Truman Bodden Law School, and his husband, also an attorney, married in Argentina in 2012. The couple has been together for more than 16 years.

While gay marriage remains illegal in Cayman, Mr. Raznovich said the ruling recognizes the rights of gay couples in the immigration approval process. He said, “These are rights that opposite-sex married couples have always enjoyed and taken for granted, but until now have been inaccessible to same-sex couples in Cayman; that is, the right of certain individuals to settle here in the Cayman Islands with their loved one without fear of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

The Immigration Board denied the request to add Mr. Raznovich to his husband’s work permit last year, saying there was no statutory framework to handle the application. Mr. Raznovich, citing precedent from the European Court of Human Rights, argued that homosexual couples had to be treated the same as other married couples, even if government does not recognize gay marriage.

The European Court of Human Rights rulings extend to the Cayman Islands because of the treaty signed by the United Kingdom. The recent vote for the U.K. to leave the European Union does not affect the relationship with the court, which is governed by a separate treaty.

The decision, Mr. Raznovich wrote in an email, “reflects the sophisticated nature of the Cayman Islands jurisdiction, its respect for the rule of law above anything and everything (the rule of law being the most precious commodity of the Cayman Islands as the Attorney General stated last year during his speech at the UCCI on the occasion of the Magna Carta celebrations), and, more importantly, the advancement in the most basic of human rights.”

He said, “This sets a leading example for the rest of the Overseas Territories and the Caribbean Region. In the words of the newly appointed Minister for British Overseas Territories, Baroness Anelay: ‘The strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those that value diversity and strive to address all forms of discrimination against all people, including on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.’”

Mr. Raznovich said, “We look forward to moving on with our lives in the Cayman Islands.”

This story has been changed from the original.

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  1. This is a welcoming story, but one that should never have to have been written. However, I am grateful that the issue is resolved for these two fine gentlemen both of whom are honorable and meaningful members of our island.

    It seems strange to me that Cayman will eagerly marry two complete strangers who are on our island for a 4 hour day trip, but refuses to recognize the rights and love of many of us who have lived, worked, paid taxes and contributed to the wellbeing of Cayman for decades. How hypocritical our our government.

  2. I have a few questions on this subject which hardly any one want to talk about, however; does this mean that now two Caymanians of the same sex can go abroad and get married, and come back and live as husband and husband or wife and wife with out them getting any problems from the Government, and claim their partners legal rights under any circumstances?
    I believe in the Bible as the word of God. I have read the books, of Moses over and over again. I have read the commandments, which seems difficult for man to keep. I keep thinking about fornicating, and adultery, which is considered as sexual sins; and being committed on a daily basis. I keep wondering about the emphasis that is put on one to the other.
    I have read the books of Moses over and over, gone over the book of Geneses over and over again, and these are my thoughts, which don’t have to be agreed by any one, because each of us may see it different.
    I keep thinking, and going back to Gods creation of Man and the creation of a Woman. I keep telling myself that the woman was created specifically to populate the earth not just a helper to Adam; because God could have created another Man companion for Adam as a helper, but if that was done there would be no me and you.
    Now, what I am obviously not clear on is and would gladly welcome some one who can explain better than I know, the real truth; and give me some Bible facts.
    If the population of the world timely, all decide on same sex partners how would our population continue, or is that not the purpose?. I would like to know what is the real purpose, and what can one gain from having a partner of same sex beside just an adventure.

  3. Twyla, one part of your argument seems to center on the ability to procreate. I ask you then should infertile people not be allowed to marry and have rights? Should women over a certain age not be allowed to marry and have rights? If so,what is the purpose then? What can one gain from having an infertile partner besides just an adventure?

    Sure if everyone on earth all of a sudden realised they were gay, reproduction would obviously decrease, but that is an entirely preposterous scenario. You see it’s because only a certain percentage of people are actually gay. It’s not a choice that everyone is all of a sudden going to decide upon and put an end to humanity.

    As to your concern with the bible – first off that’s something you can choose to believe, but not everyone does, so why do you feel entitled to impose your beliefs on other people’s lives based on your religion.

    Second, since you specifically mention the books of Moses, let’s examine some other passages from those books and you tell me how many you observe/believe in.
    “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death.” (Lev. 20:10)

    But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel. Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you. (Duet. 22:20-21)

    “He who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall be put to death; all the congregation shall stone him; the sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death.” (Lev. 24:16)

    “And the swine, because it parts the hoof and is cloven-footed but does not chew the cud, is unclean to you. Of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch; they are unclean to you.” (Lev. 11:7–8)

    anything in the rivers that has not fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is an abomination to you. They shall remain an abomination to you; of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall have in abomination. Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is an abomination to you.” (Lev. 11:9–12)

    “As for your male and female slaves whom you may have: you may buy male and female slaves from among the nations that are round about you. You may also buy from among the strangers who sojourn with you and their families that are with you, who have been born in your land; and they may be your property. You may bequeath them to your sons after you, to inherit as a Possession for ever.” (Lev. 25:44–46)

    “the foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born” (Lev 19:33-34)

  4. Christopher I do agree with most of what you have said; I am a Caymanian, and I have Gay friends, although no consideration of intimate gay friends, and I find them more sincere than heterosexual friends.
    My belief on this subject is that if we do not understand, then we ask questions from anyone who know the truth. Beside that I really think this is a loosing battle for those who are going to accept the Ten Commandments and not realize that one sin is not greater than the other. Sin Is Sin, and we are not given the position to be the Judge. Besides that if we read the Book of Romans then we will decide where does that fit in with the book of Leviticus.