Same-Sex Intercourse No Longer Illegal in Belize

Imagine your own government comparing your LGBT sexual identity and sexuality with that of people who engage in intercourse with animals.

Well, LGBT citizens of Belize didn’t have to imagine such a thing.

Section 53 of the Criminal Code of Belize, until very recently, criminalized sex-gender intercourse with a punishment of up to a decade.

Actually, that is not the most offensive aspect of the code. Until recently, the law in Belize compared same-gender intercourse with that of bestiality. The shockingly offensive comparison was actually written into the law and not as a metaphor but as a direct analogue comparison: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years.”

Just imagine being an LGBT person in Belize who has to live under constant threat of such a law.

In actuality the law was so intolerant and oppressive that heterosexuals could not engage in anal or oral intercourse without fear of being imprisoned for a decade. Though the law was expressly made to oppress LGBT people, its ramifications affected everyone and anyone of any sexual identity.

That has changed as a lawsuit challenge by a Belizean man named Caleb Orozco brought publicity and more Belizean legislative scrutiny.

As reported by The Reporter Newspaper, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin of the Belizean judiciary recently ruled that the law violated Belizean citizen’s personal privacy and right to be treated with dignity.

The law created a Catch-22 situation where even if a Belizean didn’t break the law, they were always under threat of breaking it, just for being an LGBT person.

A gay man in Belize could not bring suit to the law without outing himself in the process, thereby breaking the law and being liable to imprisonment.

The notoriously homophobic religious factions of Belize were not happy with the ruling and are strategizing ways to repeal it.

There is a 3-week appeal period in which the ruling could be theoretically overturned. This seems unlikely as the appeal would have to come from the Belize government.

The fight is not over. The ruling is the first step in achieving greater rights, equality and freedoms for LGBT people in Belize.

All in all, it is a small start to a small victory.

Which is still a lot better than being compared unreasonably and hatefully compared to people who engage in bestiality.



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