Homosexuality has always been one of those things that everyone accepts is part of the Belizean society but no one addresses publicly, least of all on a legal or policy level. But the case of the United Belize Advocacy Movement versus the Attorney General of Belize, which is asking for the decriminalization of sodomy, has changed all that. In the build up to the trial, the issue is being discussed in detail in churches, at work, on the streets and in homes across the country. Tonight 7 News correspondent Janelle Chanona presents part one of a documentary on the Belizean reality of homosexuality.
Dean Barrow, Prime Minister of Belize, May 13th 2011
"I would limit myself to saying that as a government has taken the position that it needs to argue for the constitutionality of the law that is in place that’s being challenged and so I would not go beyond that official position. I am not prepared to comment on my own psychological conviction or lack thereof. That is the official position of the government. This is one time when it might be wise for me to say nothing more."
Pastor Scott Stirm, Jubilee Ministries, Belmopan
"By natural law they cannot reproduce. Therefore they must recruit and I want to say this in the strongest terms possible. That’s what this is all about. This is their evangelistic campaign."
Martha Carillo, Regional Discrimination Unit, PANCAP, CARICOM
"It is not about changing people’s values, it’s not about seeking acceptance. I think the bottom line is that people need to be respected and we cannot have laws that disrespect the human rights of individuals."
Johnny Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"The party does not have a position as yet and we’ll certainly have to discuss as a party before we have a position."
Pastor Louis Wade Junior, Talk Show Host, Christian Youth Motivational Speaker
"We love people. We love these people. We love all people. It is the behaviour that we have a problem with."
Caleb Orozco, Executive President, United Belize Advocacy Movement
"I am willing to sacrifice whatever it takes to enforce my right and my freedom…as a human being."
Janelle Chanona (stand-up)
"The subject of sex is typically an uncomfortable topic for Belizeans. But debate over whether the laws should be changed to decriminalize sodomy in this country has ignited fiery reactions from both supporters and opponents."
As it currently stands, the Criminal Code of Belize states that "Every person who has carnal knowledge against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable for imprisonment for ten years." But in early 2011, Caleb Orozco, the Executive President of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) filed for judicial review of the law, contending that the words "any person or" should be removed because they are a violation of his Constitutional right to sexual freedom.
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