By Aaron Humes: The wider lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender movement (LGBT) has been closely following events in Belize and this week’s victory in the Court of Appeal was, therefore, cause for celebration.
Pink News writer Josh Milton recapped the Section 53 case for international readers today, making note that the appeal, pending any decision from the Government to carry on to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), has lasted for ten years.
Milton described the 2016 decision and 2019 affirmation as striking down ‘a ban on gay sex’; Caleb Orozco’s legal team have defined it more narrowly as a defense of the right to privacy, freedom of expression and non-discrimination on the basis of sex including sexual orientation.
Homosexuality, they report, has never been explicitly banned in Belize and the phrase ‘against the order of nature’ in Section 53 of the Criminal was non-specific enough that the high court ordered it be construed not to include consenting adults of the same sex, though the added language by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin was deemed unnecessary by the Court of Appeal panel.
But the bigger news as alluded to by Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman is that there are more battles to fight and not just in Belize.
Milton says, “Many Caribbean activists hope that as more nations turn the tides against homophobic colonial traditions, it’ll create a domino effect. Last year, a gay man caused shockwaves in the tiny Caribbean island of Dominica after he filed legal action against the county’s laws banning gay sex.”
And in Africa, he adds, it has been back and forth over removal of similar laws, with a win in Botswana and a loss in Kenya reported.