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Rare ruling

belize court overturns sodomy law, lgbt community here celebrates

While the local gay and lesbian community is jumping for joy at a ruling today by the Belize Supreme Court which outlawed the age-old ban on homosexuality, some church leaders here and a member of the Freundel Stuart administration are not pleased.

The Belize Supreme Court overturned the country’s sodomy law, with Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruling that Section 53 of the Criminal Code which criminalized intercourse between consenting adults of the same sex contravened the right granted by the Belize Constitution.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) activist Caleb Orozco and his United Belize Action Movement (UNIBAM) had challenged the law in 2010, claiming it contravened the country’s constitution of no interference with a person’s dignity and personal privacy, as well as equality and equal treatment of all persons before the law.

The written judgment was not immediately available, but the Chief Justice said the Court had an obligation to amend the law to bring it in conformity with the Constitution. Therefore, he ordered an amendment specifying that the section did not apply to consenting sexual acts between adults of the same gender.

A Barbados Government Minister, who did not want to be identified at this stage, expressed the fear that the courts may force the administration here to legalize homosexuality, “because nobody seem to have the courage to amend the [existing buggery] law”.  The minister said it was just a matter of time before the Barbados Supreme Court was asked to rule on this controversial issue.

The minister’s fears were the wishes of human rights activist and co-founder of the Barbados Gays and Lesbians Against Discrimination [B-GLAD] Donnya Piggott.

Describing today’s ruling as “a wonderful thing”, Piggott said it was just a matter of time before the Supreme Court in Barbados would likely take a similar decision.

“It is certainly a wonderful thing. We were kind of waiting until a Caribbean island takes precedence and do something like this and we are really hoping the rest of the Caribbean will follow suit,” Piggott told Barbados TODAY.

Darcy Dear & Donnya Piggott

Darcy Dear & Donnya Piggott

She was excited that the claimant Caleb Orozco – someone very close to her and B-GLAD – had been victorious.

“Quite often we see it [legalizing homosexuality] in the larger western countries, but to have it here at home in the Caribbean is just a wonderful and amazing feeling. The [sodomy] law is just there, it is not being enforced . . . it is just taking up space and really sending a bad message when it comes to Barbados and the views of Barbadians,” she added.

“There are a whole host of implications when it comes to the buggery law . . . condoms in prison, you having better access in that regard, you have better access in the fight against HIV/AIDS which affects the LGBT community specifically. So this law being struck down is more than meets the eye. It really opens the door for people to be themselves . . . it says that you can live and your love is not illegal.”

Another leader in the LGBT community Darcy Dear also said it was only a matter of time before Barbados went the way of Belize because this country had the same human beings. “Love is still love . . . and love will eventually overcome all the bigotry that Barbados has. I applaud the government of Belize and I hope and pray that one day I can say the same about the Barbados Government,” Dear said.

However, outspoken church leader Senator the Rev David Durant said he was disappointed at the Belize Supreme Court ruling. He, too, feared it would not be long before same sex couples here were given similar rights.

“Once it starts in one of the Caribbean islands or one that is so close to us . . . then it can seep down in this part of the Caribbean, and that is very disappointing because we would want to maintain a standard of righteousness and help to guide people in the correct manner,” Durant said.

He said the same sex marriages which the LBGT community wanted to “force” on Barbados would now have more legal ground with which to work.

“It can spell a lot of trouble for Barbados, our families, for the church within this part of the Western Hemisphere, and that is a disappointing result from Belize, really disappointing,” the senior pastor at Restoration Ministries lamented.

District Superintendent of the Nazarene Churches in Barbados Dr Orlando Seale said the ruling had serious implications for Barbados. “The powers that be would continue to push and continue to press and it is obvious that the gay lobby has a lot of influential people in the right circles, it would appear,” Seale complained.

He said if the courts here were to make a similar decision the country and church would have to deal with it. “The truth is, sodomy, homosexuality, seem entrenched in many of our societies despite the law.  The law is just on the books, but they are not applied. No one gets arrested for buggery . . . not consenting adults, unless you rape a minor or so. But it’s on the law books, but it’s not implemented.”

The District Superintendent contended that while not expressing its support for homosexuality, Government seemed to agree with it.

“They may not have the courage to remove it from off the books. My immediate impression is that this is something that is going to come and it is for the church to know what it believes and continue to advocate what we believe from a biblical perspective,” he pointed out, adding that the church could not force people to follow the biblical dictum or rules.

13 Responses to Rare ruling

  1. harry turnover August 11, 2016 at 6:44 am

    So why wunna jumping fa joy ? wunna plan to go to Belize and live ? reminds me of a Bajan stray jumping for joy because the Jamaican Tallawahs won the CPL and not knowing jack sh8 about how the name Tallawahs originated and what it stands for.

  2. Olutoye Walrond August 11, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I wish Mr. Durant had explained to us how this law would help us to “maintain a standard of righteousness”. Is it that the mere presence of the law is stopping people from engaging in same gender relations? I think not.

    Similarly we would want to know how the change would “spell a lot of trouble for Barbados, our families, for the church”. Should we effect such a change, will it cause Christians to abandon their faith; would it cause families to disintegrate; would the country be thrown into disarray?

    This change is nothing but a legal action. What was happening before will continue to happen without the possibility of legal sanction, so let’s not get paranoid.

    Incidentally Belize is not an island and is certainly not “one that is so close to us”. It’s a part of the Central American isthmus and is more than 3000 kilometres from Barbados.

  3. Smiley August 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

    WE WILL NOT FOLLOW BELIZE ! RIGHTEOUSNESS EXALTS THE NATION ,SIN IS A REPROACH OF THE PEOPLE ……IN BAJAN LANGUAGE….(..Wuhna gine smell hell ) if we follow a multitude to do evil . Keep your sexual lifestyles. to yourselves gays and l

    • Olutoye Walrond August 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      We are surely an exalted, righteous nation, with a hundred people in prison accused of murder; rampant gun violence; widespread adultery and fornication and every other known ‘sin’.
      If only God were as selective as we are about sin we’d certainly make it through the pearly gates.

      • miche August 12, 2016 at 6:48 am

        Olutoye,Israel was an exalted nation,,chosen by God,,Yet it had all that you mentioned

  4. Sam Clarke August 11, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I have said it long ago, that B-GLAD should have already challenged the Barbados law in the courts of long time ago.
    Who the heck is their Attorney that is advising them?
    If they do have one, they should have fired them long ago.
    This is a civil rights issue and Barbados is a signatory to many of the international treaties of human rights that current exist.
    The sanctimonious religious leaders who are spewing, must realize that there is a clear separation of religion and the state.
    These people pay taxes, are our sisters, brothers and family members.
    Why must they be denied the same rights that heterosexuals are given?
    They should also challenged the right to marriage, which the courts will also rule in their favour on the law as well.
    Ask any of these religious nutters, where in any of the religious books, states that marriage is between a man and a woman?

    So even if it were there, and a person does not subscribe to any of these religions, then they too are still entitled to marry whomever they choose to.
    Finally, marriage is nothing more than a civil social construct period, hence dissolution is done in the civil courts.

  5. Donild Trimp August 11, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    In a discussion with a learned associate he blurted out, “I am sorry but bulling and wicking just don’t seem right.

  6. BoboTheClown August 11, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    If you sit on a Judges lap you should expect ” an honarable discharge”

  7. clint August 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    There is a separation between religion and state. Having a law that discriminates against an individual, a citizen of this country, is not right (unrighteous)- check the meaning. However, we have religious people who purport righteousness acting unrighteously by upholding a piece of legislation-written by man not god- that denies an individual’s right to equal treatment under the law. Really sad!!!!

  8. Sherlock Holmes. August 11, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    When ever i see certain persons of apparent note, seemingly supporting this abominable lifestyle i often wonder about certain rumors that i would have heard,hmm, boy i wondering.

  9. Alex Alleyne August 11, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Its time for GAY/LESBIAN issue and CANNABIS issue to be put to the public for a vote. England did the “BREXIT” thing and got it done “once and for all”……For the people by the people.
    Its not going to go away anytime soon. We must face it and deal with it.

  10. ch August 12, 2016 at 12:34 am

    People need to calm down- both the fundamentalists and B-GLAD. Who cares what happens in Belize? Bajans have to live within their own reality which has always been one of tolerance or downright acceptance of the gay community. Nobody is actually being repressed or restricted by archaic laws so both sides can stop the hypocrisy and bullying and just live.

  11. J. Payne August 14, 2016 at 10:49 am

    I told y’all that CARICOM was going to decide on the gay issue and Barbados will have to follow-suit. I told ya all not to get all upset and raise your pressure because this case in Belize and the one raised in Trinidad before the CCJ was going to decide it for the whole region. Well. Tek the done and guh-lung now. Barbados signed away its independence and joined this Trinidad court so implement the change now. The British Commonwealth of Nations had a PERFECT model. 1) All Parliaments in the Commonwealth are Co-Equal and 2) NO Parliament where Queen is their official Head of State can enact legislation that changes legislation in any other jurisdiction (Separate Kingdom) under the Queen. This worked perfectly. If Canada raised drinking age, it had no bearing in Barbados, St. Lucia, Australia, etc. If any of the other’s lowered it it had no bearing on the rest. Then comes CARICOM and they blur the lines. Now a judgement in another separate Kingdom applies in a next and all kinda crap to the point they confuse themselves.


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