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May 10, 2013

Arguments wrap up in openly gay case

Arguments in the case of Caleb Orozco versus the Attorney General of Belize wrapped up today in the chambers of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. The trial started on Tuesday and a total of fifteen lawyers—local, regional and international—argued the case in which Orozco is challenging the constitutionality of section fifty-three of the criminal code which criminalizes sex between persons of the same gender. This morning, attorney for the churches Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay wrapped up his submission and at a little after ten thirty lead counsel for the claimant Christopher Hamel-Smith started his rebuttal. At the end of that rebuttal the Chief Justice committed to providing a decision by the end of this session of the Supreme Court, and the matter was adjourned. Mike Rudon was outside the courtroom when the attorneys emerged and has the story.


Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning at ten thirty Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay wrapped up his submission, a major part of which is premised on an assertion that the claimant, Caleb Orozco, has no standing, meaning that he has not provided evidence that he has been shown any prejudice because he is a homosexual.


Eamon Courtenay

Eamon Courtenay, Attorney for Churches

“This claim was actually brought by UNIBAM and Mister Orozco and if you look at the affidavit, you will see that most of the affidavit is about UNIBAM and not Mister Orozco. Once UNIBAM was struck off as a claimant, it then left Mister Orozco’s affidavit with very little evidence about a personal prejudice that he was being affected by. And in the absence of that, the cases are very clear that you cannot bring a claim under the Constitution.”


According to Courtenay, the claimant has simply gotten tired of parliament to heeding cries for legislation in his favor, and has turned to the Supreme Court to push the matter, and that is wrong.


Eamon Courtenay

“We cited responses from the government saying that they are not prepared to do it. So what I told the court is that the claimants are upset about that and they have come to the Chief Justice asking the Chief Justice to lash and to discipline the legislators because they are not doing what Mister Orozco wants. That has no place in our democracy. When it comes to law-making, when it comes to defining what is a criminal offence in Belize; that is determined by the National Assembly and not the Supreme Court.”


Both he and the lead counsel for the claimant are confident that justice will be served when the decision of Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin is handed down.


Christopher Hamel-Smith

Christopher Hamel-Smith, Attorney for Claimant

“The first feeling is one of relief you know. To come to the end of it; it’s been a hard four days—everyone has worked very hard, all parties, to assist the judge. I think the arguments went very smoothly. His Lordship has promised to give us a judgment within this court term which I think is excellent. So the matter is with the judge and we continue to feel confident. We brought the matter because we believe it is a strong case.”


Eamon Courtenay

“The Church has a very important role to play when it comes to discussing public morality. Regardless of how loud they shouted in the court that is provided in section nine-two of the constitution and the evidence presented by the court as I indicated to the judge, has not been contradicted. There is not a single piece of evidence contradicting the evidence of the court on the question of public morality. So the church has been consistent. The churches view is that this is a matter of social policy, of health policy, of public morality that ought to be settled by the legislature and the executive in consultation; not being forced on anyone by the court. We expect that the Chief Justice is going to consider all the evidence. We believe that at the end of the day, justice will be done—whatever it is.”


Courtenay took some time today to condemn in no uncertain terms any violence against Orozco or the homosexual community, saying that has no place in our democracy. In fact, Courtenay praised Orozco for raising the issue, though he maintains that it has been raised in the wrong forum. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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18 Responses for “Arguments wrap up in openly gay case”

  1. NY says:

    Globally, there are undeniable evidence that many religious institutions/ churches, have been responsible for some sort of mass atrocities (such as ethnic cleansing which includes murder, maiming just to name a couple), they committed in the name of their GOD. So for this guy to say that the churches have a role to play in discussing public morality is like saying the churches have the right to discriminate against people who they see as being different, or who share a different belief system, because they (the churches) view these differences as being ungodly. . There is no doubt that some members of the churches are good people, who honestly believe that they are doing GOD’S WORK….. I just to feel that they are misguided when it comes to issue because of their stubborn refusal to believe in, or acknowledge what science has to offer in this day and age. Like I’ve said in my previous posting when it came to this topic, in which I stated that I’m a fierce advocate for human rights, and in this case I believe that the gay communities in Belize and in many other parts of the world are being unjustly prosecuted. In my clear conscience, I cannot sit idly by and not speak up on their behalf, because not long ago many of my AFRICAN AMERICANS brothers and sisters here in the states, were being discriminated upon and many have been prosecuted because of the simple fact that they were born with MELANIN in their skins, something they had no control over. I thought that was wrong and if it wasn’t for some good people who spoke up against the bigots, AFRICAN AMERICANS would still be in bondage today and the notion of America having a BLACK PRESIDENT would have been completely impossible. So to my fellow BZEANS i.e. STORM, ELGIN and many others, look in the mirror, and take off your religious hats and try and comprehend that being gay is not a learnt behavior, but rather it is something that is innate. For further explanation on this topic, I would recommend that you go into the archives and look at some of my older postings so you can grasp a better understanding of why people don’t choose to be gay, but rather it is something they are born with. To STORM and ELGIN, I challenge you guys to present , YOUR BEST argument as to why the GAY COMMUNITIES in the world should be discriminated upon, and the reason I’m challenging you two is because I find you to be some of the better writers/ thinkers on the board based on some of your previous postings, and the fact you feel so strongly about this topic which illustrates that even people with a sound mind can be blinded by their prejudices….NOTE:I don’t want to hear anything from the BIBLE. I KNOW THAT There are a lot more pressing issues to discuss when it comes to our jewel but lets start here.

  2. Factsstraight says:

    A hard four days? Not even an innocent person gets so much attention! How much money are we, a as a country spnding here? Give my tax money to the needy children and not to a messed-up person like Caleb.

    And i wud prefer the media quits showing his picture caz it makes me want to puke everytime I see his )and Lisa Shomans} portrait.

  3. Tashybze says:

    So I guess you should keep reading the bible cause it also say a man could kill his wife if she cheats and so on. Really does the bible teach you to be evil. Or to love one another. Read the whole bible before you right crap on your poster. Each person will stand in judgement for their own life. Relax and live your life
    . So it’s not okay to be gay but it’s okay for the church to rape our kids isnt that in evil as well. I am a straight person, but there is no way I am judging anyone for who they are. I have my own sins and so do you. When we are all in front of God and his Son you will answer for your own doings not the doings of others. What will God say you did with he reads your life back to you.

  4. Righteousness in Belize says:

    Caleb Orozco and the homosexual community are really operating from fear. They fear that the law in Belize will start to prosecute them for practicing sodomy in this country where it states ‘any unnatural act will be punishable by law (paraphrasing here). Since they drew attention to the law, the law should now take effect and start arresting the sodomites!

  5. Justice says:

    Since UNIBAM and Caleb Orozco brought up the issue and want to deal with Section 53, let us deal with it. The law says unnatural acts are punished by our laws. So let the Belizean authority start dealing with the sodomites and start arresting them. They have admitted that they are unnatural by their own mouths!

  6. Justice says:

    Since UNIBAM and Caleb Orozco brought up the issue and want to deal with Section 53, let us deal with it. The law says unnatural acts are punished by our laws. So let the Belizean authority start dealing with the sodomites and start arresting them. They have admitted that they are unnatural by their own mouths!

  7. Justice says:

    We still say NO to sodomy! Since UNIBAM and Caleb Orozco brought up the issue and want to deal with Section 53, let us deal with it. The law says unnatural acts are punished by our laws. So let the Belizean authority start dealing with the sodomites and start arresting them. They have admitted that they are unnatural by their own mouths!

  8. Storm says:

    Belizeans should pray that our nation is not turned upside down by this case. Who wants to start down the path of open immorality that is embraced by the USA, Europe, and so many other wicked places?

    Pray for the sake of our children.

  9. Belizean Pride says:

    Mr. Christopher smith kindly leave us alone, this is Belize if we case you team wins we will be left with the wrath after this not you. So why don’t you just leave the country and live us live the way we want which is no right to sodomy simple as that it’s stunning how you are not charging anything for this case make me wonder why so much support for this case.

  10. ceo says:

    More importantly we should say no the drugs and violence. The GOB loves how the attention of the Belizean people has been redirected to something that is unimportant and things like crime and violence is hardly reported on these days.

  11. ceo says:

    Churches are not qualified to be judge and jury in this matter when their history shows that they have been very involved with the death and distruction of those who does not believe what they believe. The Catholic church has caused many deaths and torture in the past and present. The presbyterians came into existence because the Pope would not gran a divorce to a certain king so he formed his own church to grant him a divorce. Why do you think Catholics and Catholics are still killing each other in Ireland? My people do you know where our christmas bram “the king lef ih trone fi go buss kunu” came from; well now you know. Other religions have been kill other religeous believers because their beliefs is different. The mormans they believe and still prsctices racism and polygamy. How can churches decide what is law and what is not. They have been very poor stuards of society. Children still suffer at the hands of priests today but they are leading the charge against this case? Be informed!

  12. Storm says:

    @NY, your challenge is a false one, because you make a precondition of leaving God out of the discussion. I’m a profoundly believing Christian, and that means there are several absolutes — God is perfect and all-powerful, we’re all God’s children, made in His image, and our purpose is to live our lives to glorify Him, which means obeying Him.

    If you take all that foundation away, then what is the purpose of life? To make the most money? No, because you can;t take it with you, that’s a fool’s goal. To shoot for personal fame or glory? No, that fades very fast even if you can achieve it. To father many children? Useless unless you can raise them to a high standard.

    By the way, I was not raised in any church. I first attended when I was 25 years old, and questioned, studied, and learned a lot, until I developed the convictions I have today, decades later. The study of history and law have been my passions, and based on them both I think that the divinity of Christ could be proved in a court of law, using prophecy and statistics, archaeology, and contemporary witnesses, including of Romans and Jews who opposed Christ but had to deal with His reality. And yes, I do believe in what is called “intelligent design,” rather than Darwinian evolution. The discovery of DNA pretty much sank Darwin’s theory.

  13. Initiate says:

    Proud 2b Belizean says:
    May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am
    I believe Ravi Zacharias has a great response to the being born gay comments earlier.

  14. Darwin says:

    Discovery of DNA sank Darwin’s theory? Since when?

  15. Liberty & Freedom says:

    NY, please stop playing the race card. Your own African brothers sold black people to the slave traders. That is historical fact. And the term “African American” is for those who are born in Africa and emigrate to the USA. If you are a person with melanin pigmentation and born in America, you are black. There are Irish American who were born in Ireland and emigrated to the USA. A person of Irish decent born in America is an American – not black, not white – an American. Obviously you have a big chip on your shoulder. Be proud that a black man now sits in the White House. He did not get there on the black vote alone. A lot of those prejudiced white people vote for him. Perhaps because his Mama was white. So what color does that make Obama? White, back or brown, we are all brothers and sisters in God’s eye.

  16. NY says:

    @ STORM……..The fact that I didn’t get an answer or a compelling response to the challenge I put forth, illustrates that w/out BIBLE quotations, people who opposes gay rights are void; and have no ground to stand on in defending their objection. STORM you said that GOD is PERFECT and all POWERFUL, therefore if he is, then it should occur to you that all people should be treated equally, whether they are gay straight or otherwise, because we were all made by A PERFECT ENTITY. Furthermore you stated that we are all GOD’S children created in his image, so why not start w/ that premise and respect his creation. We are all fallible as humans, and because of this fact, GOD said let no man JUDGE YOU, so staying true to your profound beliefs in CHRISTIANITY, why are you and many others who claims their loyalty to GOD, judging his CHILDREN.
    The purpose of life is to be our brother’s/sister’s keeper, which means that we should look out and take care of each other, and render discrimination useless. It is also to be good stewards of this beautiful planet, so that future generations can enjoy all go GOD’S creations. And most importantly, the purpose of life is for all of mankind to know the difference between good and evil.

  17. Initiate says:

    Proud 2b Belizean says:
    May 10, 2013 at 10:19 am
    I believe Ravi Zacharias has a great response to the being born gay comments earlier.

  18. NY says:

    @ Liberty and freedom…..If you notice in my post I STATED that had it not been for some good people who spoke out against the bigots, which meant that I was highlighting the fact many good white folks spoke out against the bigots. AFRICAN AMRICANS ( and I used that term because on any paper here in the states that one is given to identify his/her ethnicity, you would see AFRICAN AMERICAN, and not BLACK) at that time had no POWER or SAY in defending themselves, hence they were being prosecuted. AND believe ME, I HAVE NO CHIP ON MY SHOULDERS, because I’m not a bigot/racist. Furthermore you don’t need to tell me about what transpired in AFRICA when it comes to the origin of SLAVERY; this is why I have this saying: THAT NOT ALL BLACK MEN ARE MY BROTHERS, AND THAT NOT ALL WHITE MEN ARE MY FOES/ENEMIES, because people of all color/race are capable of doing bad things. And I am totally aware that many of my Caucasian BROTHERS AND SISTERS, voted for the president.

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