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LGBTQ+ advocacy group raises concern over comments made by new Minister of Religious Affairs

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Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2022. 12:58 pm CST.

By Benjamin Flowers: This week, the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Our Circle, wrote an open letter to newly-appointed Minister of Religious Affairs, Henry Charles Usher, raising major concerns about some comments he made during a recent interview.

The group, which says it represents over 100 families where either one or more parents or caregivers identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, non-binary, intersex, or queer says that some comments made by Usher during a press event on Monday have caused some concerns about the impact that those comments and possible future policies will have on the families’ access to healthcare, education, goods or services in their daily lives.

The group said it took concern with Usher saying “we must make sure that our Christian principles are adhered to,” and that he is intent on “merging the public service with… Christian fundamental principles”. The group asked Usher to clarify the meaning of those statements for the avoidance of doubt.

“Is this to be interpreted that discrimination based on religious grounds will be upheld by you and your Government?” Our circle said. “We respectfully remind you that: Our children should not be discriminated against because of who they are, how they were created or what kind of family they come from; A health service of any description receiving government funding should not discriminate based on a person’s sexuality, gender diversity, family structure or relationship status; Any educational institution of any description receiving government funding should not discriminate based on a person’s sexuality, gender diversity, family structure or relationship status. As lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender or gender diverse, non-binary community members, we should not be discriminated against based on our sex, gender identity, sexuality, relationship status or marital status.”

The group stressed that Usher’s comments have created a level of ambiguity around their interpretation and reminded that

Human Rights Defenders in Belize country have worked to solidify the need for all people to be protected from discrimination based on their age, gender identity, sexuality, race, cultural heritage, or religious affiliation as per the country’s Constitution.

 

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