Belize court invalidates law that criminalized gay sex and punished it with a penalty of ten years in jail.

Belize court invalidates law that criminalized gay sex and punished it with a penalty of ten years in jail. August 15, 2016

Gay men can now be physical with one another in Belize without spending ten years in jail:

Belize’s Criminal Code (Section 53) criminalised ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ which included consensual sexual conduct between adult males in private. The law, which though rarely used carried a ten-year prison sentence, disproportionately impacted 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 the judgment was delivered by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on 10 August 2016.

Judgment

The Supreme Court found that a law criminalising consensual sexual conduct between adults in private, including same-sex intimacy, violates the constitutional rights to dignity, privacy, equality before the law, and non-discrimination on grounds of sex, and cannot be justified on the basis of ‘public morality’. The Court also found that international treaty obligations must inform the interpretation of the Constitutional rights. As a result, the law was declared void and struck out to the extent that it captures consensual sexual conduct between adults in private. The court awarded costs to the Claimant.

Just between men?  Gay women could go nuts for days?

Anyway, glad to hear that justice was done.  You might wonder who opposed such a simple, equal rights decision.  Nah, you don’t wonder.  You already know:

A group of churches – namely the Roman Catholic Church of Belize, the Belize Church of England Corporate Body, and the Belize Evangelical Association of Churches – opposed the case as ‘Interested Parties’ and sought to maintain the criminalisation of gay men in Belize.

It’s as predictable as the sunrise: where there is opposition to gay people being happy with the consenting adult of their choice,  the Church is there to try and stand in the way and to call for a ten year prison sentence for loving another consenting adult, all while assuring everybody how pro-love they are.

But, as seems to be the case more and more as time goes on, the Church mercifully lost again.  It says something about the value of the Church to humankind that in order for love to win, the Church must lose.

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