The United States Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency, Carlos Moreno, has written to the Government of Belize to urge the following:
1) Conduct a legal assessment of the state’s constitutional responsibility to its LGBT citizens to guide the development of a formal policy consideration.
2) Repeal the anti-sodomy laws, provisions of which are inconsistent with Belize’s obligations with respect to privacy rights protected by Article 17 of the ICCPR.
3) Uphold the Revised National Gender Policy to better respect and provide equal protection under the law.
Predictably there has been a huge outcry, mostly from religious groups, who believe that any loosening of the sodomy laws will lead to general approval of gay people behavior, and the ultimate result, marriage between gay men and lesbian women.
When we examine the request from the embassy, we find merit in all three of these proposals.
1. Belize’s constitutional responsibilities to the LGBT community are the same as her constitutional responsibilities to all Belizeans. Gays and lesbians have equal freedom and liberty under our constitution, but they do not have special rights. A legal assessment of constitutional responsibilities should make this distinction clear.
2. The anti-sodomy law in Belize is a throwback to colonial times. Its draconian remedies of long term imprisonment for lesbians and gays are not in step with the freedoms and liberties enshrined in our modern constitution. This is not a matter for the Courts. It is a matter for the elected representatives of the people to correct, through the legislative process in the National Assembly.
3. Revisions to the National Gender Policy are not complete at this time, but even now, the amendments contemplate equal protection for gays and lesbians under the law.
Belize will never be able to go as far as the courts have gone in the United States, openly approving hedonistic gay sex and gay marriage. That is not the idea here! The idea is that we should not persecute gay men and lesbian women, or do them any violence in thought, word or action. That is the true Christian message.