The Belize Supreme Court will debate its criminal code and a proposed new measure that could see the end of LGBT discrimination in the Central American country.
Under section 53, it currently includes a same-sex sexual activity ban where citizens face 10 years in prison.
According to the law, “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years.”
According to a 2011 human rights report, the US State Department criticized the country’s lack of legal LGBT protections.
“[The country’s religious institutions] spew out standard homophobic arguments, misrepresenting the facts of our case and using side issues as a strategy to confuse the general public,” United Belize Advocacy Movement President Caleb Orosco told PinkNews.
Referred by many of his opponents as the “antichrist” and a traitor, Orosco has received anti-gay slurs and tackled homophobic violence. Criticized for gratifying a “foreign agenda,” the measure’s opponents theorized the measure will lead to the country’s downfall.
“First and foremost this case is about the constitutional rights of Caleb Orozco and the thousands of other LGBT persons in Belize,” said Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman, Orozco’s lawyer.
“Further, this is not only a gay rights issue but rather a human rights issue. Just because Section 53 is presently only selectively applied to one vulnerable section of the population does not mean it could not be used against any person in Belize engaging in non-procreative sexual activity.”
With the court hearing set from May 7 to 10, LGBT supporters will track its progress with the hashtag, #UNIBAM.