UNIBAMer feels threatened because he’s gay
In a release from the Belize Council of Churches issued on May sixth, they reiterate their intention to stand against, “Any and all changes in the Constitution of Belize that will not promote the sanctity of human sexual relations as established by God.” But in that same release, the churches condemn any act of violence, intimidation and discrimination against homosexuals. And that message is particularly important, as Orozco’s attorneys claim that he has been the subject of an increasing amount of threats on his life. Mike Rudon has the story.
Mike Rudon, Reporting
There is growing concern within certain parties involved in what is being dubbed the UNIBAM case that threats have escalated against Caleb Orozco and members of the homosexual community close to him. One of the attorneys representing Orozco is Lisa Shoman, and she stressed today that there is no need for that.
Lisa Shoman, Attorney for Caleb Orozco
“There has been a visible increase of threats and violence against Mister Orozco and against all homosexuals in Belize. There are threats for killing, burning, shooting; you name it. It has to stop. We are all Belizeans. We can agree to disagree without getting violent about it. So I really would like to appeal and particularly to the media, handle this with the sensitivity that it deserves. I have to say kudos to a lot of my media friends. I think this is being handled in a good sensitive way and we hope it keeps up because there is absolutely no reason why in seeking to establish rights for Belizeans, the rights of other Belizeans should be trampled.”
And that sentiment has been echoed by the Belize Council of Churches, while Anglican Bishop Phillip Wright did the same today.
Phillip Wright, Anglican Bishop
“We do not support any form of violence against persons of a homosexual orientation and we distance ourselves from any such action or tendency in the wider population. After all, the church has to find a way to bring people together and to encourage hatred and that form of bigotry really is not acceptable in our book at all.”
But not everyone is reading out of the same book apparently. Wright acknowledged that, and we observed it while asking other involved parties about their concern over threats against Orozco and the homosexual community.
“Much like how with the wider Anglican Communion, the truth is not everybody sees the issue exactly the same way. I think we are unified in not seeing the homosexual behavior as consistent with the witness of scripture. But also what you are seeing out here too is some differences in how we move forward with that issue. So it is never a good thing to just lump everybody into one pack. If you talk to individual church leaders, you may also begin to understand that they see certain aspects of the issue differently.”
Ian Taylor, Catholic Priest, Trinidad
“First of all we need to know if that is true. Why I say that is because globally it has been determined by states that violence against homosexuals is highest within in the homosexual communities itself. First of all the victim syndrome that they tend to portray is actually within the community itself—they are aggressive against each other. And less from those who are considered heterosexual.”
“So at this point, you are not giving credibility to what they are saying are serious threats from outside the homosexual community towards Mister Orozco and homosexuals?”
“It would have to be substantiated by evidence.”
Louis Wade, Pastor
“I am aware that the media and those who are pro-UNIBAM paint a picture as if it is the church that is the only opposition. That is not true. Members of the public are fully aware that this is an issue of national importance and many different groupings of people—whether they attend church or not—are very concerned about this issue. This is why we have said it belongs in parliament and not in the courts. I want to add that Christians, god-fearing people, are not violent. And we represent though vocal, we represent the most peaceful parties on either side of this issue. And therefore we do not tolerate or encourage anyone to directly or indirectly insight violence to anyone on either side of this particular issue.”
And there is no doubt that tensions are rising and certain sectors take the homosexual issue very seriously.
“Those who have launched an attack against the constitution and against section fifty-three of the constitution and the morality of this nation cannot have their cake and eat it. They cannot get into the boxing ring, call a match on this particular issue and then also perform the duty of referee. They need to choose a side. We need a neutral referee if that is the issue. None of the statements or comments that have been issued either by advertising or through press release have in any way spoken about hate. They have always spoken on issue. Now what you need to ask yourself is if speaking on this issue is in itself hate speech; that is what you need to ask.”
“Mister Wade, I am a little confused with your analogy with the boxing ring. Are you saying, “unu di ask for trouble. When you get trouble, you can’t di run out of the kitchen the scream. Is that what you are saying?”
“I will speak only on my own behalf for this. The answer is yes because I believe that UNIBAM through their legal representative made various comments that over five years, they have desperately tried to lobby government, the legislative arm of this country to change the laws. Why do the laws remain the same? Very simple. The nation of Belize is vehemently opposed to the removal of section fifty-three from the constitution.”
Mike Rudon for News Five.