And while there's so much haggling locally about a few words in Belize's revised gender policy, opponents of mainstreaming the gay lifestyle had better be ready for many more battles ahead - including, not least, one with the OAS which has approved a non-discrimination resolution at this week's General Assembly. It's one of the major initiatives coming out of the 43rd General Assembly - one that Caleb Orozco and 30 other Caribbean LBGT activists went to Guatemala to fight for. They fought hard on the Assembly floor to gain passage of the Convention Against Discrimination and All Other Forms of Intolerance. Yesterday evening at his press conference, Guatemalan Foreign Minister Fernando Carrerra said that the Foreign Ministers agree that the dignity of all persons of all sexual orientations should be taken into account. He stressed though, this is not a move to legalize gay marriage.
Fernando Carrera - Guatemalan Foreign Minister
"I don't think that we're approving this to thereafter approve gay marriage, I don't think that that is the consequence of the convention. I think the interest is to eliminate forms of discrimination and not to introduce legal reforms on how we understand marriage; I think they are different matters. While of course part of the gay movement has been strong in promoting their idea of marriage as acknowledged right, I think that the majority of state's considered these marriage as separate. But nevertheless today I see a very clear convention that if I attack someone for being gay or for his or her sexual orientation in general - that is a violation of the convention. Aggression, violence, verbal or physical against persons who have sexual orientation of whatever kind, heterosexual, bisexual, transsexual - it is obviously considered in these conventions as a violation of human rights. So I think in that principle is what the states agree on and where they will be an important element of impact in the public policies. I think that the respect of their dignity is something that all the states are taking into account."
Belize Will Hold Off On LGBT Convention But while it was approved by the assembly, there's an important footnote for Belize. Speaking to Jules Vasquez in Antigua Guatemala half an hour ago, Foreign Minister Elrington explained that Belize has not signed:
Hon. Wilfred Elrington - Belize's Minister of Foreign Affairs
"Yes but Belize has not signed on to it because we don't sign on to any of these things until we go back and report to the Cabinet and get their consent for us to sign on to it. So you don't have to sign on to it today, you can deal with it on a later date. I don't have the authority to act uni-laterally on matters that have not been brought to Cabinet. I'll go back and report to Cabinet then they will instruct us to sign or hold of."
"While I was listening to the actual proceedings, there was a period when there was a pause and the chair came back and said 'ok it is approved'. What is Belize's participation in that....?"
Hon. Wildred Elrington
"In that process Belize abstained for the time being - we did not vote in favor, we abstained."