By Cathy Kristofferson, May 07, 2013
Today began the four day constitutionality challenge trial of Belize’s Section 53 anti-sodomy law in their Supreme Court. I have been watching the #UNIBAM twitter feed all afternoon (Belize = CST) for wonderful live-tweeting from Asa DeMatteo and now have been emailed (thank you!) the Press Release for Day One.
The Press Release relays that the proceedings “began today with a reminder of the supremacy of the Constitution and the fundamental rights it guarantees to every individual.” The rights the Belizean Constitution guarantee include “the rights including privacy, freedom of conscience and expression, personal privacy and home and family life, and the recognition of human dignity of every individual.”
Lead counsel for the Claimant, Trinidad and Tobago attorney Chris Hamel-Smith, CS, “argued that Section 53 discriminates against sexual minorities in Belize, on its face and in its impact on the LGBT community, and counseled the court that finding Section 53 inconsistent with the Constitution would not amount to legislative action.”
“Be not afraid. We do not come here to advocate a world view that disrespects or forces or imposes anything on…[your] community,” Hamel-Smith said in addressing arguments of the supremacy of God.
He added, “this case is about…the nature of the open, democratic and pluralistic society contemplated by the Belize Constitution.”
The court was filled to capacity and I could only imagine the thoughts the plaintiff in the case, Caleb Orosco, who must be thinking now that the case was finally underway. Best wishes to him and his legal team! See our earlier report READ HERE.
A few tweets of the arguments provided from Asa DeMatteo in the courtroom are below (whom we thank profusely!)
Stay tuned as up tomorrow is the other side…
[see https://twitter.com/AsaDeMatteo for all]