7 News Belize

PM Mum On Taking Sodomy Laws Off The Books
posted (May 13, 2011)
The United Belize Advocacy Movement, UNIBAM, a gay rights group is generating lots of buzz with a case it has taken to the Supreme Court Of Belize.

UNIBAM has filed a motion against the attorney general challenging the constitutionality of section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, which criminalizes "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person" which is basically a law banning sodomy.

The case has attracted major international attention. The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Human Dignity Trust and the International Commission of Jurists have joined as interested parties on the side of UNIBAM.

In the opposing corner is the government of Belize backed up by a group of Christian Churches. Today the usually forthcoming Prime Minister told us he's not making any personal comment on keeping the sodomy laws on the books:…

PM Dean Barrow
"That it not happen. I remember a year and a half or so I spoke at a UB graduation and I said that one of the things we have to be grateful for in this country is that the culture wars that we see in the united States have not been imported into Belize, well obviously this is the start of exactly such a phenomenon. I would limit myself to saying that as a government has taken the position that it needs to argue for the constitutionality of the law that is in place that's being challenge and so I would not go beyond that official position. I am not prepared to comment on my own physiological conviction or lack thereof. That is the official position of the government. This is one time when it might be wise for me to say nothing more."

An international news report from a Christian news outlet said that a lawyer for the Coalition of Christian Churches filed court papers today.

Despite calls to the court and a local attorney, we weren't able to find out if those papers had been filed. The hearing in the Belize Supreme Court on the lawsuit is scheduled for July. The case is scheduled to go to court in July.

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