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Aug 10, 2016

Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 53

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin delivered a highly anticipated decision this morning in the Supreme Court.  On July 2010, Caleb Orosco, president of UNIBAM took the government to court challenging Section fifty-three of Criminal Code of Belize. Arguments were heard three years later. In May 2013, Orozco’s attorneys argued that Section Fifty-Three was unconstitutional because it violates constitutional and human rights guaranteed in the Belize Constitution. According to that piece of legislation, carnal intercourse against the order of nature is a crime punishable by up to ten years imprisonment even when sex is consensual and between adults. Outside the courtroom, proponents on both sides of the issue, carried placards advancing their position and inside the chamber of the CJ, there was not even standing room as the decision was read on the single issue that evokes strong and emotional feelings. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

“I am extremely elated and I am so elated [that] I am speechless right now but because today is really, really important.”

 

Caleb Orozco

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

A long-drawn-out Supreme Court decision, six years in the making, was delivered this morning in favor of Caleb Orozco.  The constitutional challenge to Section Fifty-three of Belize’s Criminal Code was filed in July 2010.  In the claim, Orozco insisted that his rights, in accordance with the Constitution of Belize, were being infringed.

 

Caleb Orozco

“For me and to my community, this document called the Constitution is not toilet paper.  It is real, full of ideals and it is our responsibility to demand its enforcement, to demand the ideals that are in this document.  Today, the courts acknowledged what I had suspected for decades, but what you realize in any social movement is that the people who feel the pain or feel marginalized or who carry fear must step up and defend those ideals, otherwise nobody else will do it for you.”

 

Patrick Menzies

The Executive Director of United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, successfully argued that the criminalization of sexual intimacy between consenting adults, even in seclusion, violates his constitutional rights to human dignity, privacy and equality before the law.  The Church strongly opposes that position.

 

Patrick Menzies, Detractor, UNIBAM Challenge

“Exactly what Caleb demanded is what they got, which means that now consensual sex between men is now legal in Belize.  My reaction is that many people are not paying attention to the fact that Section Fifty-three is only one of many laws that will be changed because of the gender policy.  The gender policy asks for many other sections to be changed.  [Section] Fifty-three is only one.”

 

Among those changes is perhaps the definition of the word sex.

 

Lisa Shoman

Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Caleb Orozco

“One of the most cutting edge things to come out of this, and it may have escaped some, is the interpretation in Section Sixteen-three of the word sex.  When you are talking about discrimination you are no longer allowed to discriminate against anyone on the basis of their sexual orientation.  The Chief Justice actually expressed in his decision the view that sex also meant sexual orientation.  So that is extremely far-reaching.”

 

Central to the breakthrough decision is a ruling by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin that Section Fifty-three of the Criminal Code is inconsistent with the Constitution of Belize.  That was preceded by the fact that Orozco indeed had legal grounds to bring his claim and did not need to indicate that he was being put on trial under that section of the law to file an application.

 

Westmin James

Westmin James, Attorney for Caleb Orozco

“In this decision the inherent dignity of each and every human being, regardless of sexual orientation was recognized.  Today’s decision shines a powerful light to guide us along the path that we must take towards a more just, tolerant and inclusive Caribbean.”

 

That sentiment was echoed by proponents of what has been informally dubbed the UNIBAM Challenge.

 

Katie Usher

Katie Usher, Supporter, UNIBAM Challenge

“All I am is happy that finally Belize is taking steps towards equality.  This is not a sex issue, this is an issue for all Belizeans.  Every Belizean that is denied their right, as our constitution states, is every Belizean who is denied a right, any Belizean.  So this was three and a half years and finally the decision has been made and I am satisfied and grateful.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Do you care to share your response or your reaction?”

 

Briheda Haylock

Briheda Haylock, Supporter, UNIBAM Challenge

“For me this is like one step to becoming more evolved as a small country.  So today I am really, really overwhelmed with excitement.  So it’s a door that’s being opened to acceptance.”

 

That figurative entrance, according to members of the church, is merely the gateway to a greater LGBT agenda.

 

Richard Smith

Pastor Richard Smith, Detractor, UNIBAM Challenge

“They think they win, but family values never change.  It is not between two men or two women, it’s between a man and a woman.  The blessing of God will pour out on a nation when we obey.  Obedience is better than sacrifice.  Today is a shame on our nation and it’s not finished here.  It is not finished here and I am just telling you we are, we are going to win this battle because we are going to stand up and we are going to fight for the family of this nation.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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14 Responses for “Supreme Court Strikes Down Section 53”

  1. Belizean Pride says:

    Just to want to express my sadness and hoping that Mr. Benjamin can sleep peacefully after yesterday’s big mistake he did. I hope when you go home your family and kids will remember this sad day you changed Belize backwards. You made a decision that will affect not a bunch of minority but the majority. maybe you might be happy for the mean time wondering where to go for vacation after your big paycheck rolls in and the behind help that might be offered by this agenda group if they do which my guess would more likely. Hope your entire family understand the effect your decision will bring to them and us Belizeans in a whole. As for UNIBAM I feel sorry for you guys you might jump and feel elated but if you don’t see around the sadness you have cause for my kids and grand kids. I know eventually your agenda greed will ask for more than just this one. As a Christian we know that we live in a sinful world but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop it, Unibam could have stop it for the love of the majority. Time will tell after this and many who feel happy will start to open their eyes and it would be too late when suing of private entities, churches and other third parties will be more aggressive.

  2. Steve says:

    Violation of their human dignity? Man having sex with man, is that human dignity? These are sad moments for Belize. Families are already disintegrating because of alcohol abuse, infidelity, etc. Now, one more item on the war against God and the family. Only this one, is being legitimized step by step. What will be next, two faggots attempting to raise a child in Belize?

    The Belize National Anthem mentions the Sarstoon, which we’ve lost. The Belizean National Prayer speaks about God, with whom we are loosing close relationship. How ridiculous can we, as a nation, get?

  3. Elgin Martinez says:

    These people chose to be sodomites how is that a right.So if i decide to partake in criminal activities can i go to the Belize Supreme Court and request not to be punished.?Mr Benjamin can do away with the the constitution of Belize if he want,but that is not going to stop God’s prophecy.
    Romans 3:3-23King James Version (KJV)

    3 For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect?

    4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

    5 But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)

    6 God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?

    7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?

    8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.

    9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;

    10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

    11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

    12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:

    14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:

    15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:

    16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:

    17 And the way of peace have they not known:

    18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.

    19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.

    20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

    21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

    22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

    23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

    King James Version (KJV)
    Public Domain

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  4. CEO says:

    A government is not a religious organization and should not be run like one!

    Churches have been involved in discrimination through out their histories and this is wrong. Too many wars have been fought all in the name of God and too many people have been killed and maimed in the name of God. This mess is still happening right now; just look at the Middle East and Northern Ireland to list a couple. Check the history of the formation of the Anglican Church, think back is very recent history about all the crimes committed against minors by clergy and these religions are now the ones protesting a just law only that their beliefs and life style does not parallel theirs.

    Just think: I wonder if the day will come when the religions in Belize will start getting in each other faces because of their difference of practices and lifestyle: what’s good for one should be good for all.

    Equal protection is or should be the mantra for every government; not equal beliefs!

  5. Patriot says:

    That’s abomination. Perhaps, Earl was just a small message of the crooked ways Belize is heading. It’s a culture of sinfulness–going down to the beheading of a pastor.

  6. Joe Brown says:

    what is sad is that Orosco already agreed that what he is doing (being Gay) is wrong . He compared it with , fornicating. adultery etc.. Its A Paid For Agenda . The Judge already know his mistake . The discussion was made some 3 years ago . These thing must happen in order for the Lord to come people.

  7. Joe Brown says:

    Gays gets right . Entire country suffers

  8. demir says:

    Belize has been spared from many disasters over the years. We dont hate the people but instead we hate the act being committed. Instead of belize going forward, belize is goin backward. When things begin to happen to belize, noone should ask God why. As you may already see the law that has been changed. May God forgive those who made it come to be. God is a merciful god and when he gets enough, he will unleash his wrath but will save his children who lived according to his will. Laugh now but cry later. Change now to please god belize before its too late.

  9. nick says:

    This is indeed a sad day for Belize, but again we cannot expect anything better when all the high officials in this country are in the closets and are dying to come out hence why they are pushing this agenda. They use knock head Caleb as the face the public sees but he is only a mare puppet in all of this madness. But fool fool knock head Caleb is too caught up to see he is nothing but a pawn. He is starving for attention which he cannot get from a real woman hence the reason why he ready to lie down for another man. I hope that whatever the outcome maybe that Benjamin and all who was fighting for this that they can live with the consequences when the murder rate starts to spike in this county. They will have a lot of blood shed on their hands when all these so call men decide to come out of the closet and be open with their unnatural behavior. It is more than nasty what they are doing behind close doors but now they are legal to shove it in the public face…. Talking about gay having RIGHTS what about our RIGHTS….

  10. ems says:

    Very sad day I the Jewel today! This an abnormal situation. No human being is born homosexual this is a clear behavioral choice.

  11. Liberty & Freedom says:

    We are not surprised by the decision. The United States, Great Britain, United Nations and others have effectively flexed their power and money to force the majority to adhere to the decision of the Belizean Supreme Court. We may have to “recognize” this abomination, but we do not have to accept homosexuality in any way, shape or form. Yes, the next step is gay marriage. Then it will be lowering the consensual age to ten since Caleb and his “community” like little boys. Belize will wake up when our children are raped and sodomized by the likes of Caleb. We respect the rights of other ADULTS to do what they want, but will never accept nor recognize the LGBTQ lifestyle. We knew the American Ambassador was pushing the gay agenda when he flew the rainbow flag over the US Embassy. I will wager that the Marines puked when he did that. His statement when he arrived in Belize http://edition.channel5belize.com/archives/100567 was that he was not pushing the gay agenda. He is a liar just like his boss John Kerry and Obama. They have pushed gay rights, not equality, around the world. The colonial power will self destruct because they are twenty trillion in debt, their moral fabric is being torn asunder, terrorists have infiltrated their country, their current administration is corrupt, half of their population receives an assistance check and only 37% go to Church on a regular basis. This war that has been declared by the LGBTQ, not only here in Belize,
    but around the world is an attack on decency and society as a whole. Teaching principles and values
    to your children will insure that our future generations are safeguarded from the filth that the LGBTQ
    has avowed. We, the heterosexual community, are the majority in Belize, yet, we are being legislated
    to accept this abomination on our children and children’s children. Shame on you Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin – you have sold out the Belizian people for thirty pieces of silver.

  12. jorge says:

    Two faggots raising children?? Oh please!! you two guys are completely lost!! Are you playing ignorant or what? lesbians have been raising children on San Pedro EVER since, and the police and everyone knows because they don’t hide… I’m tired of you hipocritical christians that spend more time on television than on prayer, you eat more than what you fast, look at your churches all empty because of those proffesing christianity are so worldly and you want your god to intervene??? Take out the logs that you have in your eyes and then try to take out the speck in others’ eyes. Leave your television and set yourself to prayer and fasting that your
    God may change people instead of spreading your hate. Adultry and fornication are also abomination and the churches are full of adulterers and fonicators, but pastors keep quiete because of the thithe they get. HIPOCRITES

  13. xander says:

    Steve, What close relationship to god are you talking about? with a murder rate per capita of around 40 I would say you are full of it. Your “god” does not exist, if he did Belize wouldn’t be as deadly as it is. Read a book other than the bible and educate yourself. Eat from the forbidden fruit and educate yourself.

  14. Expat says:

    Finally Belize catches up what we in England decided 60 years ago. What consenting adults choose to do in private is their business and theirs only.

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