By Cathy Kristofferson, July 11, 2013
LGBT rights issues have been boiling over for a while in Belize. Caleb Orozco of the The United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) pursued a constitutional challenge of the country’s Section 53 anti-sodomy law, which we covered here on OBLOGDEE in May (see links below). Shortly after that court case, the National Women’s Commission released their revised Gender Policy that had been approved by the country’s cabinet in March. Anti-gay fundamentalist Christian forces, rebelling against both, have now whipped their followers into such a frenzy that they are hanging cardboard cutouts of UNIBAM in effigy and proudly posting the calls to lynching online.
The revised gender policy covers equality with men and progress in the areas of health, education, income and wealth generation, violence-prevention controls and political development for women. But because a section called ‘Respect for Diversity’ makes reference to respect for sexual orientation the churches are claiming it promotes homosexuality and advocating for repeal.
Pro-constitution rallies and anti-gender policy protests called by evangelical associations and other affiliated organizations are being held across the country. Belize Action, made up of the Council of Churches and the Belize Evangelical Association of Churches, is once again leading the charge.
Belize Action had registered as an interested party for the defense in the UNIBAM Constitutional challenge to the anti-sodomy law. The head of Belize Action, Pastor Scott Stirm, a Texas evangelical missionary, is the country’s most outspoken opponent of LGBT rights. Speaking at a rally Tuesday, he had this to say about the supposed message of their actions:
“Maybe people misunderstand or they’re seeing things through different filters or whatever. But all I’m saying is that this is a positive, proactive demonstration of people and of values and what the people of Belize want. We’ve been saying this for the last couple years. The overwhelming majority of people in Belize don’t want the homosexual agenda to be legitimized in our nation. It’s not about hate; it’s not about disenfranchising anybody. It’s all about guarding family values, about guarding morality and about guarding the values of our constitution.”
Stirm’s claims of positivity in their message are fairly typical of those trying to backpedal after the true face of the hate they promote shows up in the form of actual and harmful persecution as in the instance of the effigy response.
Today a photo of pilgrims on the road to one of those pro-constitution rallies was posted on the Facebook page of The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development, Senator Lisel Alamilla. The photo clearly shows one of the UNIBAM cutouts with a noose around its neck. (See right)
The Senator’s response on her Facebook wall speaks of the shock, saying it all:
The ruling on Section 53 of the criminal code that will determine if consensual sex between two men will be decriminalized is due from Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin in the case of Caleb Orozco vs the Belize Attorney General and is expected sometime this month.
Only time will tell at what height the anti-gay hate will have reached prior to that decision. It seems to be way beyond acceptable already.
- Belize: Final thoughts from the Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General Case
- Belize anti-sodomy penal code trial wraps-up its final day
- Belize Court hears Closing argument in Penal code anti-Sodomy case
- Opening Arguments in Belize Urge Supreme Court to Uphold the Constitution
- Belize Government and Christian right fight Supreme Court Challenge to decriminalize homosexuality