Belize strikes down anti-gay law

gay men holding handsThe Supreme Court in Belize has struck down Section 53, an anti-sodomy law, from the country’s criminal code, in a move that has been described as historic in the Caribbean which could have an impact on other countries in the region.

Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code reads, “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person … shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years.”

In essence, it criminalizes consenting intercourse between adults of the same sex.

However, the law was seen as a relic of the country’s British colonial past and was challenged in 2010 by the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) headed by director Caleb Orozco as unconstitutional.

With the support of attorney Lisa Shoman and other lawyers from the University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project, The Human Dignity Trust, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the matter was taken to the Supreme Court in Belize.

They claimed that the law violated rights guaranteed in the Belizean Constitution including the right to human dignity, personal privacy, right to equality before the law, equal protection of the law and freedom from discrimination.

On Wednesday, August 10, 2016, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled that the Code contravenes the right guaranteed by the Constitution of Belize to no interference with a person’s dignity and personal privacy, as well as equality and equal treatment of all persons before the law.

In his ruling, he said his job is to defend the Constitution of Belize and not make moral judgments (referring to opposition from Christian groups).

He said the definition of “sex” under Belizean law includes sexual orientation consistent with country’s international obligation.

He also ordered an amendment to Section 53 that will specify it does not apply to consenting sexual acts between adults of the same gender.

The Chief Justice stated that removing the section from the law would help accelerate the fight against HIV, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM), who are stigmatized and thus refuse to participate in testing and treatment programs.

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26 Comments

  1. Homosexual - I love home sex
    August 12, 2016

    HOMOSEXUALITY is not a Human Right. It is a lifestyle. Some people like it and some people do not like it. It’s a matter of choice… some of us choose to become Homosexual, none of us are born Homosexual… On that basis alone HOMOSEXUALITY is not a Human Right.

    The Holy Bible also has many scripture verses which speaks against Homosexuality …… If Homosexuality is a Human Right the Committing a crime is a Human Right too…

    Some people say Homosexuality is when you have sex at home… it’s not a right to have sex at home its a choice to have sex at home …

    • Gary
      August 13, 2016

      Why do you display such gross ignorance regarding your understanding of homosexuality. The opinions you have expressed are not factual. To say homosexuality is a lifestyle shows how little you understand the matter at hand. Your last paragraph solidify your ignorance.

  2. we dem boyz
    August 12, 2016

    NOT IN DA……………………………………………………. FIRE FOR THAT………………………………

  3. ParisGospel
    August 12, 2016

    That doesn’t change the fact that homosexuality is a sin and those who commit such acts will be judge by God

  4. Tj
    August 12, 2016

    The fear to respect others with different sexual orientations in DA is always laughable. Stay out of my bedroom and I wifi stay out of yours.

  5. J.John-Charles
    August 12, 2016

    Why do people equate slavery and segregation with this abominable act.? Not John-Charles; God Almighty calls this despicable behavior, 1 Vile affections 2 Against nature 3 Burn in lust 4 Shameful 5 Such people have a debased mind,6 This very life style is a punishment from God,7 again such people are filled with unrighteousness. As we often say in creole, (Let your eyes boil your peas).turn to the book of Romans 1:26-29 also i Corinthians 6:9 The word of God said Do not be deceived no homosexual nor sodomites will inherit God’s kingdom
    Yes we may call it what we want but the Judge of all the earth will have the final say.
    Let me repeat once more. IF God DON’T punish the so-called GAYS, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology.Because He rained fire and brimstone on them for the same immorality .Genesis 19: 23

    Friends if every one of us do not repent and turned to Christ,just remember who laugh last laughs the best. Amen and amen.

    • Gary
      August 13, 2016

      Wow, religious beliefs, the things it can do to the mind of a person.Sometimes the Bible in the hand of a man is worse than a whisky bottle in the hand.

    • James
      October 29, 2016

      well spoken

  6. EnfantDiable
    August 11, 2016

    This constitutional; ruling by a distinguished Caricom Chief Justice must be taken with utmost seriousness by all OECS member Governments!!

  7. Nrt
    August 11, 2016

    You mean they thrown on legalizing marijuana in Dominica and they are going to take on legalizing this act of man buggaring one another, given the current strain on our health system? Well look HIV. No one is even troubling them. Hell will have some snow flakes.

  8. Joseph
    August 11, 2016

    So in Dominica two women can engage legally in anal sex and there is no punishment. Lesbians get a pass, but not male homosexuals.
    That, too, is another form of discrimination.

    • Dominican Bwoi
      August 12, 2016

      Batty boy, batty gyal, both are as bad as each other. By the way, how can two WOMEN engage in ANAL sex without the male anatomy? I’ll wait…

  9. LifeandDeath
    August 11, 2016

    There are many Laws that pass their time. Just Like making possession of small quantities of Marijuana for personal use illegal..

    Just because Cigarette Smoking is Legal don’t mean everybody smoke it neither.

    I still believe that both Men and Women would better contribute to humanity if they avoid dedicating their life and their time exclusively and selfishly to the same sex, without consideration for procreation and continuation of the human race.
    However, to incriminate and prejudice a man’s sexual preference is depriving a man’s basic human right, unless it can be proven that relations were not consensual or involving minors. Then the crime would be Rape.
    Humanity is moving forward in many ways and becoming more understanding and tolerant of our differences..The Catholic Church in earlier centuries saw it fit to burn at the stake holders of Bibles in languages other than Latin, even when their first language was NOT Latin. Now how trivial was that???

  10. Abomination
    August 11, 2016

    Man will one day pay for their unrighteousness!

  11. who cares
    August 11, 2016

    pushing your private parts in feces can never be right besides being just nasty

  12. August 11, 2016

    Good! Regardless of whether one finds this to be an unwholesome activity, it’s not at all the place of government policymakers to involve themselves in the nonviolent consensual activities of adults.

    • Mi
      August 11, 2016

      Then i say legalise weed.

    • @Steve Foerster August 11, 2016

      Right on Steve! It is not at all the place of Government, etcetera, to involve themselves–except they did not involves themselves in what people do in their bedrooms. But those people are making demands to be treated equality with those of their environment –that is where the conflict was born, for and against.

      I live in Toronto, Canada, and there was a time our existing Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau was in Rulership –he passed some years ago–his son, Justin Trudeau is now Canada\’s Prime Minister.

      Anyway during his rule, that talks about Gays and Lesbians asking for rights was brought to Parliament, and Pierre Trudeau\’s response was that: \”It is none of my business what Canadians do in their bedrooms\” and it was left so, until his reign as Prime Minister had ended.

      But those who took over after him, got themselves involved–Ontario was the first Province to legalize same sex marriage–even before the USA.

  13. Jaded
    August 11, 2016

    Good riddance. Those laws are anachronisms, anyway.

  14. Not a herd follower
    August 11, 2016

    This is a major ruling in Caribbean jurisprudence. It is also will be unpopular throughout not only in Belize but in the Caribbean as well. Ending slavery and racial segregation in the USA was unpopular with the masses as well but they were the right thing to do.

  15. john3 16
    August 11, 2016

    not in dominica

    • Zagaya
      August 11, 2016

      It is coming baby, it is coming. The same things were said in Belize, now that it has happened the sky has not fallen – it is another normal day in Belize but with improved human rights laws.

    • Dominican Bwoi
      August 11, 2016

      Preach!

    • August 11, 2016

      Yes! I think they should enforce that law in DA too! Because the amount of woman i see walking around in roseau holding hands and kissing. I mean it is just too dang disgusting.

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