It's been a little over a 1 year and 5 months since Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin delivered the landmark ruling in the Caleb Orozco/UNIBAM case, legalizing gay sex between consenting adults. But, an appeal of the judgment is still pending.
Viewers will remember that there was an outburst of negative reactions to the decision, with the loudest protests coming from the churches. They pushed Government to appeal, asserting that they would seek to overturn the ruling. But, tonight, the news is that the appeal case could take place without them.
First, the Evangelicals wanted to enter the case as interested parties, but because they were not a part of the case at its inception, they were unable to participate. So, the substantive appeal of the Section 53 judgment, which has the possibility of overturning the Chief Justice's decision completely, fell to the Catholic Church.
Well, at the last case management conference of the appeal case, the attorney representing the Catholic Church asked the judges of the Court of Appeal to have his name officially removed from their record. That means that at this time, the Catholic Church has no attorney representing them in the case, and neither do they have any legal arguments filed, which - we are told - should have been done already.
So, the church is at risk of being excluded from the case they were pushing for.
Today, we caught up with Caleb Orozco, who will have to fight the appeal to ensure that the Supreme Court judgment stands. He told us that this latest development has caused a delay while the Appeal Court tries to find out what the Catholic Church intends to do.
Here's how he explained it:
Caleb Orozco - Respondent, Section 53 Appeal
"Essentially, what happened was that the original lawyers that represented them, asked the court to remove his name from the case. And, that left the church without representation in the court proceedings. It is my understanding that the court was cautious in its response, and gave the Catholic Church wide latitude in responding to the court about its intention. To me, that was fascinating for them to do, considering they didn't have any legal representation whatsoever, nor did they issue a letter or notice to the court about their continued involvement need an extended deadline for submission or anything in that regard. The curious thing now is how long will the Catholic Church take to respond to the court's concern that they need to define their intention. We're in limbo on that because the case management process was suspended. It's my understanding that the case management process was suspended until the intention of the Catholic Church can be established."
"Do you intentions, or is there any consideration being given to possibly making some sort of application to have the court consider whether or not this case should even happen at the appeal stage?"
"At this point, it's really not about the case, but about the intention that the Catholic Church continue to establish its participation in the case. And so, discussion is taking place as to how do we nudge the Catholic Church to define its intention. A final agreement on what application will take place has not been established, but the lawyers are discussing their options."
Today, we contacted the attorney, who was identified to us as the lawyer who asked to be removed from the Appeal as the Catholic Church's legal representation. Our phone call and text message requests for comments went unanswered.
We'll keep following the case.