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Belize: Supreme Court hears arguments about anti-sodomy law

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI — The Supreme Court in Belize began hearing arguments today, May 8, on whether it should strike down a law that in part criminalizes gay sex, Pink News reports.

According to the report, Chris Hamel-Smith, the attorney for claimant Caleb Orozco, argued that Section 53 discriminates against sexual minorities and urged the court to find it inconsistent with the constitution. Section 53 states, “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”

Pink News quotes Hamel-Smith as telling the court that the constitution requires “respect for individual conscience, respect for diversity of ways of being, respect for diversity of world-views and diversity of views." 

He added, “Be not afraid. We do not come here to advocate a world view that disrespects or forces or imposes anything on . . . [your] community.” He said the case "is about . . . the nature of the open, democratic and pluralistic society contemplated by the Belize Constitution.”

Orozco spoke to Pink News about the case last July, noting that the Central American country's Anglican and Catholic churches, in addition to the government, were “spewing out standard homophobic arguments, misrepresenting the facts of our case and using side issues as a strategy to confuse the general public.”

Orozco says that he's been called a traitor and the "anti-Christ" and that he has been targeted with anti-gay slurs.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case through May 10.

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