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Catholic Church lawyer pulls out of Section 53 appeal

 Posted: Saturday, February 3, 2018. 7:56 p.m.CST.
By BBN Staff: The Section 53 constitutional appeal, which challenges an aspect of the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex relations between consulting adults, may proceed without the Catholic Church after the church’s lawyer decided to leave the case.

Reports are that the church’s lawyer requested to have his name removed from the court’s official records, leaving the church without legal representation in the matter. His departure also hinders the church’s stake in the case, because he reportedly left without filing any documents on their behalf, and the time for doing so had already past.

Caleb Orozco, the man who successfully challenged the Criminal Code, told Channel 7 News that the church has been stalling with respect to making its intentions known on its participation in the case, essentially keeping it in limbo.

On August 10, 2016, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin upheld a challenge brought by Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) that Section 53 of the Criminal Code violated the constitutional right to privacy

The controversial ruling brought out mixed reactions from Belizeans, and divisions even within the churches. The Catholic and Evangelical churches wanted to appeal the decision but the evangelicals were barred from participating in the appeal because they were not a part of the original case.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow said that the Government of Belize would launch a limited appeal focusing solely on the aspect of the judgement which deals with the interpretation of “sex” in the constitution to include “sexual orientation.” Barrow said the basis for the appeal was because Orozco never sought that relief from the court, but another interested party, which was a non-Belizean entity, had made it a part of their submission.

Barrow’s agreement to file the limited appeal opened the door for the church to appeal the judgment in its entirety.

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