Posted: Tuesday, January 18, 2022. 6:50 pm CST.
By Benjamin Flowers: Last week, Our Circle, an LGBT advocacy group raised concerns about comments made by the new Minister of Religious Affairs Henry Charles Usher. While Usher promptly reached out to the group to invite them to dialogue, he appeared this week on Channel 7’s Sun Up morning talk show to ask that all special interest groups, religious and otherwise, give his ministry time to reach out to all stakeholders.
Usher said that moral values are at the core of what makes Belizeans who they are, and that he is willing to speak to every stakeholder, not just those ascribing to Christian religious beliefs such as himself, to chart a course forward for the country, but he stressed that level of dialogue will take time.
“I ask them not to be judgemental about this appointment until we’ve had an opportunity to sit down and talk.” Usher said. “All I’m saying is let us have the conversation before we start to attack the appointment and I think it was unfortunate that the attacks came almost immediately, I didn’t have a chance to sit down with anybody.”
He also said that he was surprised when Prime Minister John Briceno asked him to take on the responsibility, but his other duties that had been planned in advance kept him from arranging the meetings that he wanted to have as part of his new appointment.
One major concern raised by LGBT groups is the definition of family structure that will be applied to policies going forward, but Usher has conceded that times are changing and the word family takes on more forms than it did in previous years.
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