Sexual minorities in Belize “are disproportionately harmed” by Section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, a portion of which also violates several provisions of the Belize Constitution. This is the view of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) which is calling for an amendment to the CriminalCode.
The offending part of the law reads: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”
UNIBAM’s President, Caleb Orosco, told Reporter on Wednesday, February 10, that the vagueness of that law has been the basis on which the human rights of homosexual men have been continuously violated by members of society and by authority figures.
A release from UNIBAM stated: “The accepted interpretation of carnal intercourse against the order of nature includes anal sex between two consenting adults in private.” Orozco pointed out that the law, if left unchanged, affects homosexuals and heterosexual couples alike.
“This provision criminalizes all acts of anal sex between men and men, [and] men and women ... regardless of age and consent,” he said. However, despite the law’s implications for heterosexuals, it has been primarily employed against gays, lesbians, and transgender people. “This is the case even when such laws are not routinely enforced,” Orosco said. “They can still be used as threats... or as weapons to extort gay men.
“They are also one reason why gay people are afraid of cooperating or even seeking help... when they are victims of violence and extortion related to their sexual identity.”
UNIBAM’s release emphasized that even though the law is under-enforced, it fosters intolerance against sexual minorities and helps to produce a “geography of oppression that disempowers sexual minorities.”
Orozco made it clear that UNIBAM is not seeking a total repeal of the law. However, it is seeking that “the offence be ‘read down’ or amended, so that it will not apply to sexual intercourse between consenting adults.