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Church joins State in opposing challenge to constitution by gay activists

Wednesday, May 25, 2011    

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BELMOPAN, Belize (CMC) — The Belize Council of Churches (BCC) has filed an application in the Supreme Court joining the Attorney General's Office in opposing a case brought by the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) that seeks to deny rights to gay people.

UNIBAM and its executive president, Caleb Orosco, are challenging Section 53 of the Criminal Code, which states that carnal intercourse against the order of nature is an indictable matter which carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

UNIBAM is seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional since gays can face prison time for sexual preferences.

But the BCC said its motion to argue the validity of the law presents a moral argument despite its origin within the Constitution.


"Nobody should be shocked or surprised. The church is the moral authority within the context of the nation and therefore it is the church's view that the very challenge that has been brought against the attorney general is really an attack on the teachings of the church and therefore has made its stand known," said the BCC representative Canon Leroy Flowers.

"This should not be a thing new to anyone. We see this as another undermining of the very moral fibre of the society and while there are many members who may not necessarily agree with the church's position. The church has got to maintain its stance [and] its understanding but more importantly as a society we've said the very preamble of our constitution talks about the supremacy of God.

"You can't talk about the supremacy of God and then undermine the very thing that seeks to uphold that principle and we feel that a part of that principle has to be between a man and a woman and not a man and a man or two women for that matter or a man and an animal as it were.

"Now this does not in any way signify the purity of the church. It simply seeks to challenge what we believe to be part of the moral fibre of our nation," he added.

But Orosco has defended the decision to challenge the matter in court.

"Our case isn't unique in terms of what we're trying to do. We're using a democratic tool. The tool is the Supreme Court and the use of the Constitution. We are not unique in terms of bringing constitutional challenges.

"There are other groups which have done that and have used the court for finding redress so our case is not unique in that regard. Beyond them politicising the sexual rights of individuals that they know nothing about really is a dirty.

"What it means is that gay people or gay men in particular, bisexual men in particular have stood up for basic human rights. What is means is that this case will and have generated a discussion on the basic consciousness of every individual in this country," Orosco said, questioning how would you treat your own blood if they were gay?"

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