Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ending homophobia in Belize

Back in September I blogged about the Human Dignity Trust, a group whose aim was to decriminalise homosexuality, one country at a time, by pursuing test cases in local courts. Today, the Guardian reports that they're starting their first case, in Belize:

Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, will be among the team of lawyers fighting to overturn section 53 of Belize's criminal code, which enacts that: "Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years."

The hearing, scheduled to begin on 5 December, has been brought by the gay Belizean activist Caleb Orozco. It is shaping up to be a constitutional legal clash with international political dimensions.

Belize's evangelical, Anglican and Catholic churches have united to oppose the application. They are expected to set out their objections in a pre-hearing review on Friday and seek to introduce evidence that homosexuality can be "cured".

In a joint statement earlier this summer, the churches in Belize declared: "In every country that has granted a new 'right' to homosexual behaviour, activists have promoted and steadily expanded this 'right' to trump universally recognised rights to religious freedom and expression."

And they wonder why they're increasingly identified with hate and bigotry...

Belize is only the first step. Cases will be lodged in Northern Cyprus and Jamaica by christmas, and there'll be more next year. It'll be a long struggle, but it'll do some good, and hopefully turn the tide against international homophobia.