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Jun 21, 2017

Caleb Orozco upbraids “Morality Commission”

The recent fracture within the self-styled “Morality Commission” has seen the departure of Bishop Phillip Wright and Reverend Roosevelt Papouloute, two relatively powerful church leaders who sat on the government-helmed working group.  That task force was formed in the wake of a Supreme Court decision on the controversial Section Fifty-three challenge which was filed and successfully argued on behalf of gay rights activist Caleb Orozco. The breaking away of the Anglican and Methodist denominations has given rise to a number of questions from various corners, including the L.G.B.T. community and the Opposition.  While the committee has been openly criticized for failing to include representatives of the minority group on its panel, Orozco has opted for a different approach. The splintering of the Morality Commission, he says, shows that Belizeans are not fanatical and that it should now lend to a meaningful discussion on human rights concerns.

 

Caleb Orozco, Gay Rights Activist

Caleb Orozco

“Not one of these church leaders will clean my backside when I get old.  Not one of these church leaders will pay my rent or my healthcare bill if I come with cancer.  Not one of these church leaders will pay for my education if I need to go further in my studies.  So we have issues that must be addressed constructively and what has happened with the commission is that it shows that as Belizeans we are not a society of extreme thinkers.  We are open to constructive and logical responses and that is the way we move forward. The problem with the Morality Commission is that its optics is bad when you’re going to legitimize extreme thinking in a society which is about live and let live.  The problem with the Morality Commission, or as Minister Faber says, the Church/State Commission, is that it not only legitimizes extremism, it also excluded the marginalized people in that discussion and did not uphold the values of natural justice which requires that government arbitrates the issue by bringing both parties at the table.  What we have not had, and there’s an opportunity for Minister Faber and government to do, is to sit both sides on the table and outline what the issues are because cabinet nor the church leaders have ever studied or taken the time out to study what our issues are, nor have they considered the impact of their position in regards to opposing Section Fifty-three and our lives.  And the farce has to stop because even as the decision rolls through the Court of Appeal, when are church leaders going to take the time out to substantively take the position to say, “Alright, as LGBT Belizeans and as citizens they have substantive concerns in addressing their safety net issues.”  

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