Belize Court confirms sodomy law unconstitutional

Belize sodomy law unconstitutional
Caleb Orozco. Image: Central American Art/Twitter

The Belize Court of Appeal last week upheld a former ruling by the Supreme Court Chief Justice declaring the country’s sodomy law unconstitutional.

Previously, Caleb Orozco, an LGBTIQ activist in the Central American country, brought a case against the sodomy law in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled in favour of Caleb in 2016 and declared the sodomy law unconstitutional. However, the Belizean government challenged the ruling.

Last week, the country’s Court of Appeal upheld the ruling of the Chief Justice.

Caleb Orozco issued a statement after the Court of Appeal ruled in his favour.

Fundamental rights

“I have proven as a citizen that our fundamental rights have value and can be upheld by our courts, and that any alienated section of society can stand on principle and can go to court and use the fundamental rights to ensure that the state leaves no one behind.

“Today is a renewal of hope in the substance of the chief justice’s decision in 2016, which still stands.”

The former colony inherited the sodomy law from the British. Typical of the usual formula, it bans “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

Caleb began his fight against the law way back in 2007. Along the way, he faced ridicule from politicians and threats of violence.

Local anti-LGBTIQ activists trained by an American right-wing group fought for the country to retain the law.

The ruling makes Belize the first English-speaking country in the Caribbean to strike out sodomy laws inherited from the British. Activists in other Caribbean countries say Caleb’s win will also resonate in their countries.

The court also ruled that the current prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex should also apply to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation

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