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#406202 - 04/26/11 10:17 AM Belize Anti-Gay Law ?? Attracts Lawsuits
Marty Online   happy
This piece refers to attorney "Misa" Shoman. I am assuming that it is really Lisa Shoman.

Caribbean News Now:

BELMOPAN, Belize -- A constitutional motion in which a sex-related law is being challenged in Belize has attracted several high profile international attorneys.

Caleb Oronzco, a health educator and advocate for gay rights, and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) have filed a motion against the attorney general challenging the constitutionality of section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, which criminalizes “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.”

Section 53 of the Criminal Code provides: "Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years."

Oronzco and UNIBAM are seeking a declaration that such section contravenes his constitutional rights to privacy and equal protection of the law as enshrined in sections 3, 6, and 14 and affirmed in the preamble of the Belize Constitution. They also seek an order striking out the words "with any person or" from section 53.

The claimants contend that the accepted statutory interpretation of "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" is that it criminalises anal sex between two consenting male adults in private and as such it violates their constitutional right to the recognition of human dignity (section 3(c) of the Constitution); the right to the protection of personal privacy (section 3(c) of the Constitution); the right to the protection of the privacy of the home (section 3(c) of Constitution); the right not to be subject to arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy (section 14(1) of the Constitution); the right to respect for private life (section 14(1) of Constitution); and the right to equal protection of the law without discrimination (section 6(1) of Constitution).

A battery of local and international attorneys representing Oronzco and UNIBAM include Misa Shoman, SC, whose principals are Christopher Smith QC, and Dr Arif Bulkan Q.C.

The attorney general is represented by senior crown counsel Nigel Hawke, with crown counsel Magalie Perdomo, Andrew Bennett, and Iliana Swift.

The Commonwealth Lawyers Association, the Human Dignity Trust and the International Commission of Jurists have joined as interested parties and are represented by Godfrey Smith SC, and Lord Goldsmith QC.

The matter is scheduled for hearing between July 13 and 15 before Justice Arana.

#406203 - 04/26/11 10:18 AM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
Marty Online   happy
several folks have complained about this article being riddled with errors... trying to get some detail on the errors...

#406204 - 04/26/11 10:24 AM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
I wonder how long its been on the books?
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#406239 - 04/26/11 04:40 PM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
iluvbelize Offline
Perhaps they seek to clarify and strike the portion of the code which has apparently been misconstrued? On second review of this portion of the code it appears it seeks to address the case of rape against males; the other portions directly address rape and harm against females.

I don't read this section and subsections thereunder as anti-gay...but rather as addressing criminal force as to rape.

This portion of the code specifically: Criminal Code 101 Section VII Criminal Force; subsection 1. Assaults subsection; 2. Rape and Like Crimes subsection; 53. Crimes against the Order of Nature... If the adults (only males are addressed here in this section of the code) are consenting to whatever activity in which they engage, then it does not appear that action would be covered under a Criminal Force/Rape code. But then again, I'm not a Belizean legal professional.

#406240 - 04/26/11 04:51 PM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
If anything the whole section seems to be sexist and women seem to be not considered perps at all!
page 58- a law that makes having sex with a woman that is an idiot a 5 year jail sentence but does not mention a woman having sex with a man who is an idiot.
assuming some men are.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#406241 - 04/26/11 04:56 PM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: elbert]
iluvbelize Offline
Agreed, it is written exclusively to address only male-on-male rape in general.

#406253 - 04/26/11 06:32 PM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
You are right and these laws were adopted from British laws, from the Victorian era. Some yrs ago, two woman I know were in a car in some stage of lovemaking and were arrested. The DPP at the time, also a good friend of mine who happened to be gay, told me he could not prosecute as there is no law on the books that include women and that is because these laws are from the Victorian age, when I guess, the lawmakers never considered that women might have sexual urges. Yes, the name of the lawyer is Lisa Shoman, also a friend of mine. So women can not be prosecuted for same sex relations. I might also add, I do not recall anyone being prosecuted for same sex relations and there are many gay people in Belize, in all sectors of society, who go about their lives. We are pretty much a live and let live society, with stupid people who make stupid comments, like anywhere else. We just had a situation a few weeks ago where a Belizean cross dresser was denied entry to Trinidad. Our problem with changing laws like this is with the Church. They are now lobbying GOB to stop legal abortions in cases of incest and rape. But anyone who wants an abortion, knows which docs perform safe ones, so again, another live and let live situation. And I never heard of a doc arrested for performing an abortion. But I do think its time to change the laws, even if not enforced. Its a reflection of the kind of people we are and these antiquated laws must be changed to reflect our society.
Belize based travel specialist

#406283 - 04/27/11 07:24 AM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
elbert Offline
"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions-Jefferson
Katie,what can we do but
laugh loud and in the face of the complacent.
and page 58 is a good place to start.
The Dive Shops Daily Blog

#406312 - 04/27/11 11:12 AM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
iluvbelize Offline
The way I am reading this law, page 58 included, is that it only addresses criminal force/assault/rape, not consentual sexual relations between adults. If anything it seems additional language to protect male idiots and minors from female predators would equalize the application of the assault/rape code. But then again I believe less law is better law when applied by intelligent law enforcement and the justice system. Good luck with that anywhere in the world.

Is there another section of the criminal code that actually has anti-gay provisions? I just don't see it here in Section 53, but perhaps it is to be found elsewhere.

#406313 - 04/27/11 11:19 AM Re: Belize Anti-Gay Law ?? Attracts Lawsuits [Re: Marty]
Amanda Syme Offline
That's what I thought too. It is law against non-consensual and under-age sexual relations.

No I don't believe we have an anti-gay laws. If we did they would not have allowed the gay cruise passengers to visit Belize. There were some fringe protesters at the dock side hurling verbal abuse, but no law enforcement preventing the visitors from alighting.

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