Caleb Orozco and UNIBAM take gay rights to the Courts
A first of its kind lawsuit has been brought against the Attorney General’s office involving sexual orientation. Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) have filed a constitutional case, challenging section fifty-three of the Criminal Code. The section reads “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.” That, Orozco says, criminalizes consensual physical relationships between gays and lesbians. UNIBAM is using sections three, six and fourteen of the constitution as a basis for their arguments. The Church State system of education is not expected to have any sympathy for UNIBAM. The date of the case has not been set but it is expected to come up shortly as it was filed since last year. News Five spoke to Orozco about his lawsuit.
Caleb Orozco, Executive President, UNIBAM
“It looks at the issue of privacy and recognizing human dignity, it looks at arbitration and protection of arbitrary searches and interference of privacy and it looks at equal protection under the law.”
“What spurred this movement?”
“Not so much what spurred the movement but the context of it is that there is a discussion all over the world where there are certain laws in countries which discriminate against sexual minority groups in particular countries. The problem with those laws is that it’s used as an extortion tool, it’s used as an intimidation weapon and it’s used to harass; even if the laws aren’t routinely enforced. What we seek to do is read down the law in such a way that it clarifies the right of persons in consensual intimate relationships once and for all.”
“You mentioned to me earlier that this is something that’s also being looked at in the Caribbean?”
“In terms of looking at the Human Rights issues and human rights needs of the L.G.B.T. population, there are other partners that we have been working with for the last three years to assess the human rights needs across the Caribbean region. One particular partner at this moment, had filed a constitutional challenge addressing the issue of discrimination against transgender people in Guyana. I will accept that there will be fear mongers out there trying to use with a message that the sky is falling, but the reality is that this challenge is simply part of a larger evolution of groups who are dissatisfied with the equal treatment under the law seeking redress. This is one tool that we’re using in a democratic society.”
Orozco says that if the case is successful, it would be the first of many steps that need to be taken to address discrimination against sexual minority groups.