Landmark Anniversary: Belize Court Ruling on Homosexuality Celebrated as Catalyst for Change

Landmark Anniversary: Belize Court Ruling on Homosexuality Celebrated as Catalyst for Change

On August 10, 2016, the Supreme Court of Belize handed down a landmark judgment that Section 53 of the Criminal Code, which criminalized homosexual relationships, was unconstitutional. Former Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin agreed with the litigants that the judgment violated the right to privacy guaranteed to all Belizeans under the constitution.  The judgment was subsequently appealed by the government of Belize in an appeal which was led by the churches. The Court of Appeal upheld the ruling stating that Section 53 of the Criminal Code is in violation of Sections 3, 6, 12, 14, and 16 of the Constitution. Caleb Orozco, executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), said that the judgment paved the way for many discussions that could not have happened if the law had remained intact.  Here’s his reflection on the seventh anniversary of the judgment.

However, Orozco says that all is not well following the judgment. He said that since 2019, despite all the consultations, and government manifestos that speak to equality, Section 53 hasn’t gone anywhere, and that represents a failure on the part of the Government of Belize. 

SECTION 53 2 

IN 

OUT

 

The National AIDS Commission also issued a statement today marking the anniversary of the judgment, saying that it represents a sizeable step in the goal of achieving no new HIV infections by 2030.

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