Belize churches join GOB in court battle against homosexuals

Published: May 22, 2011

The Belize Association of Evangelical Churches and the Council of Churches have applied through heavyweight attorneys, Rodwell Williams, SC; Eamon Courtenay, SC; Jackie Marshalleck, Christopher Coye, and M. H. Chebat, to join forces with the Government of Belize in defense of Belizean laws against sodomy—laws which are being challenged in court by Caleb Orosco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), an organization which Orosco leads.
  
Belize’s criminal code calls for imprisonment for 10 years for persons who have intercourse “against the order of nature” with a person or animal, once they are convicted of the act. UNIBAM is challenging the constitutionality of the law.
  
UNIBAM is represented by Lisa Shoman, SC, and is supported by the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association, and the Human Dignity Trust, as interested parties. These agencies have hired two other attorneys to litigate against the government: former Belize Attorney General, Godfrey Smith, SC, and former British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, QC.
  
The churches made the application last week to join the Attorney General of Belize, whom UNIBAM is suing over homosexual rights, to defend the laws currently outlawing sodomy. The churches are seeking to be added as an “interested party” in the Supreme Court case, to be heard on July 13.
  
According to the joint press release from the churches on Wednesday, May 18, “This [UNIBAM] lawsuit was filed to establish a new ‘right’ to engage in homosexual acts in Belize. In every country that has granted a new ‘right’ to homosexual behavior, activists have promoted and steadily expanded this ‘right’ to trump universally recognized rights to religious freedom and expression.”
  
They also say that this “homosexual agenda” demands that same sex marriage be recognized.
  
The press release further states that, “This advocacy group has been heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a worldview that directly contradicts the supremacy of God as reflected in our laws, challenges our national sovereignty, and threatens our very way of life, not least by targeting our children.” (The full press release appears elsewhere in this edition of Amandala.)
  
May 17 is dubbed International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by those who support homosexual, bisexual and transgender persons (those who identify themselves as a gender other than their biological sex, such as a man assuming a female identity).
  
Amandala has given the public a chance to have a say through our online poll, at www.amandala.com.bz.
  
The question of legalizing homosexuality, and particularly sodomy, is very controversial, and one that many people feel very passionately about. This is reflected in the record number of hits to our poll this week.
  
The poll question was: Do you believe homosexuality laws, including sodomy, should be erased off the law books or repealed, so as to legalize same sex relations and marriages in Belize?

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