Attorney says Gender Policy is mischievous on sexual orientation
The Revised Gender Policy 2013, a product of the National Women’s Commission was updated to identify and examine inequities experienced by men and women while suggesting ways to correct gender disparities. The implementation of the policy has caused alarm in several sectors of society. One of the presenters at the launch of the document, Adele Catzim Sanchez, spoke about quote “discrimination against persons because of their gender orientation or sexual identity.” Executive Director of the Women’s Commission Ann-Marie Williams agreed that it is part of the preamble of the policy and she said, “It’s in the constitution.” But Attorney Arthur Saldivar believes that the inclusion of sexual orientation in the gender policy document is mischievous since the case of Caleb Orozco versus the Attorney General is awaiting a decision before the courts.
Arthur Saldivar, Attorney
“In terms of the preamble that I have been informed was referred to as granting the commission its mandate to suggest that sexual orientation should be interpreted as being a part of the constitution, I cannot see how the words in paragraph E of the preamble leads anyone to that interpretation. What paragraph E suggests is that government is required to enact policies that denote basic fairness to all manners of people regardless of color, creed, race, ethnicity or sex. It speaks to gender equality. Now, when we are speaking about gender equality and sex, it is the normal everyday ordinary meaning attributed to those words by the Belizean man and woman that is to be taken as meant by parliament. Now, in 1981, you really and truly conjure in your mind that the Belizean man and woman were thinking about homosexual sex in 1981? No. What sex denotes is the physical attribute of the person; its anatomical composition—a man and his anatomical parts; a woman and her anatomical parts. What sexual orientation denotes is akin to sexual preference. What a person chooses to do with himself as a man or a woman as it relates to their preference—what they like, their choice—so no. Certainly, the constitution is not talking about that, not referring to that, from my interpretation. The fact that the commission would want to advance this in light of the fact that there is a matter before the court, in front of the Chief Justice no less is mischievous to say the least. It appears to me to be some move to preempt the court in its function and I don’t see where that is allowed in our system. I think they should have refrained and waited until the judgment was brought back.”
The inclusion of sexual orientation in the gender policy of Caribbean nations came up in Trinidad on May seventeenth. Marlene Coudray, the Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development, told the media that gay rights were not a part of the gender policy which is before that country’s Cabinet.