Belize Supreme Court Strikes Down Gay Sex Ban

Incredible news!

Belize’s Supreme Court has struck down a law that criminalized sex between two men.

 

The Belize News reports:

Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin today found that Section 53 of the Criminal Code which criminalizes consenting intercourse between adults of the same sex contravenes the right granted by the Constitution of Belize to no interference with a person’s dignity and personal privacy, as well as equality and equal treatment of all persons before the law.

So finding, he added that the court has an obligation to amend the law to bring it in conformity with the Constitution, and ordered an amendment specifying that the section does not apply to consenting sexual acts between adults of the same gender.

Below are excerpts from an explanation of the case by Human Dignity Trust:

Caleb Orozco v. Attorney General of Belize
Supreme Court of Belize

Belize’s Criminal Code (Section 53) criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” which includes consensual sexual conduct between adult males in private. The law, which though rarely used carries a ten-year prison sentence, disproportionately impacts on the lives of gay men. Caleb Orozco, a Belizean gay man and a prominent human rights defender, launched a challenge to Section 53 in the Supreme Court of Belize. The case was heard in May 2013 and judgment was reserved by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin. …

The criminalisation of consensual male homosexual conduct is a legacy of British colonial rule. A total of 77 jurisdictions around the world still make same-sex intimacy a crime. Of these countries, 39 are within the Commonwealth and this includes all-but-one (the Bahamas) of the countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean. …

Mr Orozco, supported by the Human Rights Interested Parties, seeks a declaration that s. 53 violates the Constitution to the extent it criminalises consensual adult conduct in private. He requests the Court to “read down” s. 53 so as not to apply to such conduct. The section would remain in force to cover non-consensual sex with a male or sex with an animal, since neither of these is currently covered under other provisions of the Criminal Code.

H/T: New Now Next

Comments

+1
0
-1
[-]

I was considering visiting Belize 2 years ago with my boyfriend until I heard about this awful law. We could have been arrested for sharing a hotel room. Of course we didn't go. 

Add new comment