Belize appeals court affirms: Anti-gay law is dead

The appeals court of Belize yesterday added new shovelfuls of dirt on the grave of the country’s defunct colonial-era anti-sodomy law.

Belize Supreme Court building.
Belize Supreme Court building.
Caleb Orozco of United Belize Advocacy Movement (Photo courtesy of CTagOnline)
The lawsuit by Caleb Orozco of Unibam (the United Belize Advocacy Movement) overturned the Belize anti-sodomy law in 2016. (Photo courtesy of CTagOnline)

That law, which called for a 10-year prison sentence, had been overturned in a 2016 decision by Kenneth Benjamin, the chief justice of the Supreme Court.

The Belize attorney general appealed aspects of his ruling, but the Court of Appeal declared yesterday that Benjamin’s decision would stand.

In Benjamin’s ruling, affirmed yesterday, he declared that the anti-sodomy law in the Central American nation was unconstitutional and could not be applied to consensual sexual acts conducted in private.

He also ruled that the Belize law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex applies equally to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The Court of Appeal endorsed that portion of Benjamin’s ruling also.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at [email protected]

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