Belize Court hears Closing argument in Penal code anti-Sodomy case

By Cathy Kristofferson, May 08, 2013.

uniba_counselToday, on Day Two of  Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement’s (UBIBAM) constitutional challenge of Belize’s Section 53 anti-sodomy law, lead attorney Christopher Smith‐Hamel SC,  made his closing arguments.  During his closing,  he quoted Bishop Desmond Tutu,  the Anglican humanitarian leader from South Africa:

“’Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa and elsewhere are living in fear, and they are living in hiding…Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared path to freedom and justice.’”

200px-IeagoldsmithFollowing Smith-Hamel’s closing arguments, submissions were made by Lord Peter Goldsmith representing the three law-related international human rights organizations (Commonwealth Lawyers Association, Human Dignity Trust and the International Society of Jurists) who have intervened in the case in support of the Claimants.  Lord Goldsmith examined the issue from a global perspective, demonstrating that a large number of Commonwealth and other countries have decriminalized same sex conduct, among them, India, Armenia, the Balkans, New Zealand and Azerbaijan.  During his submission, Lord Goldsmith commented about what we keep exclaiming here on OBLOGDEE:

“It somewhat ironic that so much ink has been spent in characterizing my clients as foreigners…when in fact the law they are trying so hard to preserve is a colonial import; it is a legacy of British rule.”

Thank you Lord Goldsmith.  Both the law and the homophobia are imports!

caleb2During the day the live tweeting showed arguments were presented about how Section 53 is harming HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, how Section 53 causes violations to international human rights agreements Belize has signed,  how Section 53 violates Belizeans’ constitutional rights to privacy and human dignity, and how cases heard in the United States Supreme Court may or may not apply.

To see all the in-court twitter action:  https://twitter.com/AsaDeMatteo

Up tomorrow, the court will hear from opponents – the Belize Attorney General and The Belize Action Network made up of Catholic, Anglican, and Evangelical churches.

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