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Group says decision in Orosco versus the Attorney General soon

Belize Supreme Court building

Belize Supreme Court building

AARON HUMES Reporting: According to religious advocacy group Belize Action, it will not be long before Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin decides on the suit filed by the leader of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), Caleb Orozco, on the criminalization of homosexual intercourse under Section 53 of the Criminal Code.

A mass email sent out on Tuesday states in part, “All indications are that we will be hearing very soon from the Chief Justice on his decision… Some things are stirring in the judicial circles, so we expect a ruling any time now.”

The group cites favorable decisions in Australia, India and Jamaica that the Chief Justice may consider in making his decision. In Jamaica, in November 2013, Maurice Tomlinson, who is suing Belize in the Caribbean Court of Justice regarding denial of entry to Belize to homosexuals, lost a challenge in the Jamaican Supreme Court over a private television station refusing to air advertisements championing homosexuality.

In India, on appeal from a 2009 decision on upgrading sodomy/unnatural act laws which was cited by Orozco’s legal team, the Indian Supreme Court overturned the decision and said the matter was a decision for the Indian parliament. And in Australia in December 2013, Australian judges said much the same about a local province’s decision to unilaterally legalize same sex marriage.

Belize Action anticipates that the case will be appealed regardless of its outcome and calls on its supporters to stay resolved and faithful and together to pursue the case to the end.

In related news, the Criminal Code amendment dealing with changes to several sections regarding sexual assault and related issues has been gazetted as of February 22.

The organization says it does not know the reason for the delay but it is processing with its legal counsel its “strong concerns” on the bill and examining the gazetted law to see if it’s different from what was passed in the House of Representatives in early December.

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