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Aug 18, 2016

LGBT Community Has Been Given a “Shield, Not A Sword”

Dean Barrow

In a letter written by the Roman Catholic Church to Prime Minister Barrow earlier this week, bishops Dorick Wright and Christopher Glancy highlighted the urgent need for appeal.  They alluded to other countries where decriminalization of certain aspects of the sodomy law was successfully challenged.  The church maintains that legalization gave sudden rise to gay marriage legislation, laws which seriously breach the right of a child to a mother and a father.  Likewise, it contends that decriminalization can allow for the establishment of, quote, a draconian gender agenda in the school system, unquote.  This is in the context that seventy percent of schools in Belize are managed through the church/state partnership.  PM Barrow, on the other hand, argues that nothing will change as a result of the decision.

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“No gender policy will emerge in consequence of the Chief Justice’s ruling and do or set out some of the things that the churches seem to fear are inevitable consequences.  It won’t happen.  Nothing will change except, as I said, in this narrow regard.  I can, in good conscience, say to the nation that in so far as the claimants are concerned, they have been given what is without a doubt a shield, they have not been given a sword, and the entire nation must understand this.  We will, I repeat, make the rounds to set out government’s position clearly to try to educate people.  We will continue to appeal for calm and respect to the ruling and for the differences among us.  We will not just do the media rounds, if there are pamphlets and bulletins and literature that we have to put out we will do so.  Cabinet has directed that we meet with the churches so that what I am saying here might be repeated and have the benefit of their forensic questioning of government in order to try as much as possible to clarify this absolutely horribly complicated issue.”

 

The church has said that while there has been dialogue on a number of critical issues, none have been more serious, influential or come close to rivaling the UNIBAM Challenge

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