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The Orozco Appeal: Identity, marriage, and equality – the next frontier?

Posted: Monday, December 30, 2019. 8:52 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: From the moment Caleb Orozco filed his case in 2013, he and his attorneys have been at pains to insist that marriage between homosexuals was not the final fulfillment he and the local lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) community sought.

With the case settled in two courts six years later (pending any possible appeal by the Government), Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman says it may not be too much longer before challenges are made to the established laws to clarify unions between persons of the same sex, and even heterosexual so-called “common law” unions.

“Inasmuch as persons who are LGBT or intersex wish to do the normal human thing, of linking themselves in a union, I think that is going to be the next frontier and it is for those persons to take up that challenge. But I foresee that challenge coming and it’s not just that; the other issue is identity, transgendered persons – what do you do in terms of identity? Can you have yourself legally declared as one gender or another? And those things are all things that are coming in the world and they are happening – Belize is not going to be any different,” Shoman declared.

As she wittily put it, “No challenge has started, but it is my opinion that it won’t be too long before it is challenged, because I know there are Belizeans who want to have the same opportunity that you and I have, of being miserable in a civil union, so that is to come.”

Jokes aside, the worldwide fight for recognition for the LGBT community is not going away. But closer to home, Orozco says, the issue of equality and union is more of an economic one.

“We’re concerned with poverty in this country, but we are not recognizing certain principles – that you give people a choice to access benefits; you don’t deny them access to benefits. When it comes to the issue of dignity, we give people a choice whether to access a health facility; or whether they want a person who is non-blood to decide their life or death health decisions, or whether they want that person to caretake for them – it’s as simple as that,” he observed, adding that the LGBT community considers relationships to be about psychological and economic security.

“With the decision of 2016, the sky did not fall on the population that opposes us, and once the population realized that, there was no need for any additional reaction and that is proven with what happened today,” he said, and thus, it should not be controversial.

It is now his hope that the Government will take the lead in addressing legal changes, but he knows that it will take continued advocacy, including getting those affected to come forward and to know their rights and apply them. Treatment must be equal and not separate, he concluded.


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