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Oct 5, 2016

Caleb Orozco Says Sex Definition Needs to be Litigated

Caleb Orozco

The Government, represented by the Attorney General, initially chose not to appeal the decision at all, provoking fierce reaction from Belize’s more conservative elements. It was only after some protest that it chose to go after a narrow point, the decision of the Chief Justice to agree that sex as defined in Belize’s Constitution and laws now includes sexual orientation. According to Prime Minister Dean Barrow, it appeared that this was not part of the original arguments made by Orozco. Today, the UNIBAM president clarified that this was introduced by the interested parties on their side of the case – the Human Dignity Trust, Commonwealth Lawyers Association and International Commission of Jurists – though he agrees with them. He also added that while the matter should be litigated, the case is more about the right to individual privacy.

 

Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM

“The principle of arguing any litigation case is whether you are interested party or not, there are basic principles that are followed. And that is while it was the interested parties who argued based on international human rights law, the issue of sex, there were well within their role as interested party to offer such a perspective in court. So what I would need to say is interested parties along with my main legal team are collectively part of the process that defended my case and so I cannot disrespect the effort of the interested party in any way, shape or form by agreeing to the idea that it was not the argument we submitted. With that said, the key thing around the definition of sex, which is part of the list of description, I believe section fifty-three in the constitution—which categorized the list of things you can’t discriminate a person on—is a good point that the government raise because we never had a precedence which sets the possible interpretation around what that actually means. Outside of that, the debate around sex and its extended meaning ignores the fundamental point that the case was really about adult privacy. And in that regard, all Belizeans need to recognise that unnatural crime as an issue applied to every citizen, not just gay people, in that regard….my case is about defining every individual intimacy decision around what they want to do as informed consenting adults, not just gay people. And in that regard, the case becomes a fundamental point in getting not only citizens to understand that, but for the judiciary to take on its role which is to interpret whatever laws we have in a very constructive and responsible manner that is related to their job.”

 

No date has been set for the appeal in the Court of Appeal.

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