Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Belize High Court Strikes Down Sodomy Law: Human Rights Activists Hope the Decision Will Influence Other Caribbean Countries

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Belize High Court Strikes Down Sodomy Law: Human Rights Activists Hope the Decision Will Influence Other Caribbean Countries

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

IN A LONG-AWAITED decision, Belize's Supreme Court struck down a colonial-era antisodomy law on August 10, saying it violates constitutional rights to dignity, privacy, equality, and freedom from gender discrimination.

The decision came six years after the case was filed. It strikes down Section 53 of Belize's Criminal Code, which banned "carnal intercourse against the order of nature," therefore primarily targeting gay and bisexual men. The law was a holdover from British colonial rule in the Central American nation located on the Caribbean coast.

"This is a history-making judgment for Belize, the country which I am proud to call home," said a statement issued by Caleb Orozco, the plaintiff in the case and the executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), an LGBT rights group. The ruling from Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin also says that the definition of sex under the law includes sexual orientation, paving the way for broader nondiscrimination protections. …

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