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Sep 9, 2016

G.O.B. to launch partial appeal on Section 53 decision

Dean Barrow

There is a major development in respect of the ruling on Section Fifty Three.  Government and the religious community, including the Belize Council of Churches, have arrived at a mutual agreement in respect of the ruling by the Supreme Court.  That controversial decision handed down by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin decriminalizes sodomy and other unnatural acts among consenting adults in private.  After the ruling Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced he will not be appealing the decision. But that has changed and now the government has decided that it will appeal part of the amended criminal code which also interprets sex to include sexual orientation, following a series of meetings between the church and the state.  The outcome of those discussions will now see the Attorney General filing an appeal in the days ahead.  Government’s case will be heard by the superior court individually while allowing all interested parties to appeal Section Fifty-three in its entirety.  G.O.B.’s position to apply to the Court of Appeal for a reversal of the piece of law which deals solely with sex and sexual orientation is in line with its view that there is little basis to challenge the substantive part of the Supreme Court ruling.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Government will appeal the aspect of the Chief Justice’s decision which extends or expands the definition of sex in the Constitution to include sexual orientation.  As you know, that is in the context of the constitutional protection to non-discrimination.That position government came to after an extensive review of the judgment and the advice of the Attorney General.  From the time of the Monday meeting we had communicated to the churches that we were prepared to appeal on that limited ground.  In other words, government’s position is and was remains that we do not have any faith in any challenge to the striking down of Section Fifty-three as being unconstitutional.  This is for various reasons, legal and philosophical.  We simply cannot support the criminalization of sexual acts between consenting adults and we are positive that that is what Section Fifty-three did.  So from the time of the Monday meeting, all the churches accepted government’s decision to appeal on the limited basis.  It was clear from Bishop Papouloute and Bishop Phillip Wright that in the normal course they would not have sought to press government to appeal at all, but that they did have fundamental concerns with that aspect of the decision.  So that while they would not have for that reason alone appealed, they would not therefore oppose government’s decision to appeal and I believe to some extent they approved of that.  So what was outstanding was the question of appeal on the other aspect of the ruling which said that Section Fifty-three ought to be struck down as well because it violated the constitutional right to privacy.  It violated the claimant’s right to privacy and the claimant’s constitutional protection of his right to dignity.”

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4 Responses for “G.O.B. to launch partial appeal on Section 53 decision”

  1. Joe Blank says:

    So what you are saying you as a Senior Counsel did not know that 1 year, 1 month, 1 week ago but you approached your Junior for clarity. You must know the Legal Odds of this succeeding. This what we call Legal Masturbation. Everyone will enjoy the moment but nothing will be achieved. I don’t blame you, you gave them good Legal Advice but them hard-headed, fool, frankly. All they had to do was to follow your lead. If you no like the law, get the House to change it, add to it, subtract from it, or create an entire new law. You would have gladly used your majority along with the PUP to RAM it through. In that way, everybody wins, Your Sins are forgiven, and everybody, except us, win. Laad, Pastor fool bad. It’s embarrassing.

  2. Tallz says:

    Why don’t all these people putting all Their time into fighting this section 53 thing do something more useful. Do the churches realize that their are kids going to school hungry everyday? Do they realize that people are sick and can’t afford simple medication? Wouldn’t it benifit the country more to put their resources into areas that truly matter? It seems to me that they are just looking for a purpose; something to be recognized for.

  3. Kmh says:

    Now we see the payback for pastor rockes vote in Senate!

  4. Belizean Pride says:

    The churches are fighting for morality purpose but talking about kids going hungry is a gov issue so don’t get mixed up. Some church who have mission schools feed this type of children but it’s part of the state to provide for them. Also sick people while the churches can try their best to help what about the gov neglecting the medical institutions with medications, infrastructure is wasting money on non beneficial issues. I see many time people tend to throw things at the churches while some can be done but it’s for the Sate to deal with it mainly.

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