By Aaron Humes: Who won the debate on the Equal Opportunities Bill, subject of recent public consultations? It depends on who you ask.
The Bill, drafted by the National AIDS Commission, Ministry of Human Development and Office of Special Envoy for Women and Children clearly has the support of the marginal groups it seeks to support – the LGBT community, those affected by HIV/AIDS and other sources of discrimination.
But according to the National Evangelical Association of Belize (NEAB), that is not the “85 percent” majority its backers claim.
The church grouping, first to condemn “hate speech” and anti-discrimination legislation as taking away the rights the Bill seeks to buttress, says today that its membership and that of Patrick Menzies’ Alliance of Pastors and Leaders of Belize can claim “at least 90% rejection of the Equal Opportunity Bill Public Consultations nationwide by approximately 3,000 citizens.”
NEAB repeats that “The Equal Opportunity Bill claims to reduce discrimination and create equality when in truth, it limits and violates Constitutionally guaranteed rights. We declare that we will not rest until our voices are heard loud and clear and the serious negative impacts of the Bill on issues of Morality, Religious Belief, and Political Opinion are adequately addressed.”
Further consultations were held with the press, churches, Opposition and others but it is not yet clear when or if the Bill will be read in the House of Representatives.