September 21, 2013 marked Belize’s 32nd independence day and, in an unprecedented move, the country’s Prime Minister, Dean Barrow, used the opportunity to support the right to equality for LGBT citizens. In his message to mark the day the PM said:
Published: September 24, 2013
“Government will therefore fully respect the right of the churches to propagate their understanding of the morality, or immorality, of homosexuality. But what Government cannot do is to shirk its duty to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law.
After all, the Belize Constitution that affirms the supremacy of God also affirms fundamental rights and the dignity of the individual human being.
That same Constitution further declares that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to non discrimination; to freedom from interference with their privacy; and to freedom from unlawful attacks on their honour and reputation.”
Considering the virulent anti-gay rhetoric recently spouted by many Belizean churches, as well as the massive country-wide protests against recognizing the human rights of LGBT citizens, this statement by the PM is certainly commendable, and even brave.
That said, there is a practical way that the Honourable Prime Minister can demonstrate that he is serious about respecting the human rights of LGBT Belizeans: simply move a Parliamentary motion to repeal the British colonially imposed anti-gay laws. That would go a long way in fulfilling the goal of Belizean independence.
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