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Government has not sanctioned “anti-discrimination/hate speech legislation”, A.G. responds to NEAB

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2020. 7:28 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, has rebutted the vice president of the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), Pastor Scott Stirm, over his comments on Tuesday concerning reported plans for anti-discrimination/hate speech legislation being introduced in Belize.

As we have reported elsewhere, the National AIDS Commission is holding consultations on the subject starting this Saturday and continuing through next week.

But A.G. Peyrefitte categorically states that the Government itself is not working on or has sanctioned any such legislation.

Stirm told reporters on Tuesday during NEAB’s press briefing in Belize City, “We got an email concerning a consultation with a consultant from Barbados at the end of November, beginning of December, right as Christmas celebrations are starting. It was concerning anti-discrimination legislation that is being drafted in Belize. He did not present to us a copy of the legislation. He gave us a copy of a model that they are using but they informed us that this will be going to public consultation in … January and then to the House after that.”

Such legislation, Stirm said, has been used against Christian churches elsewhere that are in opposition to the LGBT community.

“I have friends in Canada that have worked in professional capacities – you are not allowed to say anything about homosexuality in the workplace or you will be charged with hate speech. Just recently there was a news story of a church in Toronto that was kicked out of their building by the city because of hate speech, and their hate speech was reaching out to homosexuals on the streets, by saying God loves you and he wants to save you. That was their hate speech. So we find it very, very disingenuous that right before Christmas holidays where basically it’s impossible to mobilize any type of information campaign. That was the only consultation time for us as the church,” he said.

Pastor Stirm also confirmed that he is a member of a regional religious group known as the Caribbean Cause, which has participation from 14 Caribbean territories.

This organization issued a statement reading in part, “We argue that the Court in Belize has taken to itself powers that it does not have and is setting a dangerous precedent that is a threat to our democracies. No judge must be allowed to unilaterally alter the content and intent of the Constitution of a democratic society. This function is the prerogative of the people and their duly elected representatives only.”

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