Belize makes historic ruling for LGBT rights

The chief justice of Belize has struck down Section 53, the colonial-era law that criminalized “buggery” for men and women and made it punishable by 10 years in prison.

Caleb Orozco, founder and executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, challenged Section 53 in July 2010. His victory in this case is seen as an encouraging step forward for the LGBT movement in the Caribbean.

Of the 76 legal jurisdictions that makes same-sex intercourse illegal, 38 are Commonwealth members, and all 10 other Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean have laws against ‘buggery.’

In 2013, UNAIDS found that two thirds of (68%) Belizeans were accepting or tolerant of homosexuals. Chief Justice Benjamin stated, “Section 53 is inconsistent with the country’s constitution, as it violates the rights to human dignity, privacy, freedom of expression, non-discrimination, equality, and equal protection under the law.”

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