At the end of 2019, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling by the Chief Justice that Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code is unconstitutional. Section 53 disallows same-sex couples to engage in sexual acts which Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin found as an infringement upon the rights of gay people. Adding to his ruling, the Chief Justice ordered that the wording of the legislation be altered to include the sentence, “The section shall not apply to consensual sexual acts between adults in private.” This ruling did not sit well with the Churches and as a result the Government appealed and lost. Today, the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB) has come forward distressed over the ruling as they say it could have serious ramifications for Belize. Their contention had to do with the word “sex” being expanded to include “sexual orientation.” In their view, the lack of a definition of the word “sexual orientation” leaves it wide open for translation. They also expressed concern over the effect they believe this will have on the HIV statistics and the right to freedom of speech. These concerns were brought to the table by Vice President, Scott Stirm, and Secretary, George Ferrar.
Scott Stirm, VP, NEAB: “This is giving green light for everything that the LGBT wanted in the country of Belize. Anti discrimination which means and hate speech, which means that you will not be able to speak against them. I have friends in Canada that have worked in professional capacities you are not allowed to say anything about homosexuality in the work place or your will be charged with hate speech. What we are mostly and deeply concerned about is for our children and our grandchildren and the LGBT having a green light to be able to insert their indoctrination into the schools to go after the hearts and minds of the children that this is completely normal and natural and we are fundamentally and eternally opposed to these positions.”
George Ferrar, Secretary, NEAB: “The Center for Disease Control in the US says that 82% of AIDS cases in the US are homosexual, that means that disease, serious diseases are spreading and are a public health hazard that is going to affect everyone because it’s gonna put a big burden on our health system here and the rest of us are gonna have to pay for this, what we expect to be a spike in AIDS in Belize, a further spike than there has already been because once you teach something as normal more people are gonna try it. With homosexuality being normalized here a lot more people are going to try it and they are going to very likely contract AIDS and be a big burden on the health system.”
This matter dates back to 2016 when activist, Caleb Orozco challenged Section 53 in court, stating that it violated his rights to human dignity and privacy.