The University of Belize this afternoon played host to a discussion referred to as Divergent Issues. The hot button topic today was the UNIBAM lawsuit against the government of Belize. In attendance were presenters for and against the suit. This controversial issue has spawned clear opposition between factions of society and President of UB DR. Carey Frazer gave his comments on the issue.
Carey Frazer, President, UB The UNIBAM case is about redrawing boundaries between public order and private life in the Belizean society and the priority between religious judges and Christian beliefs versus those beliefs of a secondary vision in addressing the future of the society.
Niasha Lang, Legal adviser to Unibam established the legal position for the case.
Niasha Lang The Preamble of the Constitution refers to fundamental rights, but I won’t go into that, I will focus on Section 53 in this presentation, which deals with the fundamental rights of all persons, including the right to life and the right to privacy. Section 53 of the Criminal Code criminalizes any anal sexual intercourse, whether between a man and a woman, a man and a man or a man and an animal. It is important to know that there are three types of activity that are governed by this statue and it does not distinguish between either one. In many countries this is an old law and in many countries subsequent regulations were made to separate the bestiality from the human sex, which in this case is one statue.
PLUSTV’s General Manager and advocate for sound ethics Louis Wade weighed in with his argument for the preservation of a moral society.
Louis Wade Jr. The church and religion has been the active agents for Human Rights - this is not a Human Rights versus a religious issue. This is a Civil Right issue versus the prevailing culture of our time – that is how I prefer to frame the argument. Secondly it is not withdrawing boundaries between public order and private activity. I want you to understand that the state has always regulated sex.
Caleb Orosco took the stage and described the level of discrimination he and others live with.
Caleb Orosco I believe it is a legend because my heterosexual parents had no concept of what homosexual acts or behaviors were. Why would any heterosexual parent in this room want to call a gay person their child? Many of you in this room resist that concept. I want to make a comment to Louis Wade, please do your homework, the first one in Commonwealth was India - Section 377, they won their case, but who is appealing? That’s right, the church. The thing you all must know is that religious belief can exist side by side with fundamental rights.
Louis Wade rebutted by establishing that all persons are endowed with inalienable rights by our creator and that these rights come with responsibilities.
Louis Wade Jr. Have you ever met an ex-black person before, have you met a person who is ex-Hispanic? If I want to be a white man, do you think it will happen? That is the essence of Human Rights, Human Rights is the inability to change what you are fundamentally, genetically. That is why this is not a human rights issue, because I meet ex gay people all the time. That is the proof in itself that they can change, because there are many people who change. If a person refuses to change and that is them, then that is them, but you know what, don’t change the law, you change - you change the law.
The case is currently in the courts and both sides are awaiting the judge’s decision on whether UNIBAM as an organization can bring such a case against the Government and people of Belize.