BREAKING NEWS: Standing House committee meets Tuesday for “Gender Neutral Rape Bill” public hearings

111Yesterday PlusNews reported on the online article from Gay Star News  titled “Belize prepares for gay sex law to be axed.” , the article says, “While much more work is needed, Orozco told Gay Star News he was delighted with progress, saying: ‘It seems the stars are aligning for us.’ … The preparation they are referring to is the new bill that was just read in the National Assembly on Friday. And while the bill has been hailed as  a legislation to protect children from predators, there are parts of the bill that seek to redefine rape, in general, and equate sodomy with natural sex . One controversial part of the bill states :

Section 46. – (1) Every person who penetrates another person’s mouth, anus or vagina with his penis, without that person’s consent or a reasonable belief that the other person consents, commits the offence of rape and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term that is not less than eight years but may extend to imprisonment for life.

The GAY STAR article also said that the Prime Minister of Belize is following in the footsteps of his wife on the LGBT issue, referring to the Independence Day speech and Kim Barrow’s speech on International Day of Homophobia. Opponents of the bill say that the “Gender Neutral Rape Bill” is really a backdoor legalization of sodomy. They contend that At a time when we await the Chief Justice’s decision on Section 53 of the criminal code, this is no time to be creating legislation to undermine a decision. One pastor complained that it goes against the PM’s commitment to the Churches that no new legislation would come out of the 2013 Revised Gender Policy; even as the Churches prepare to submit their recommendations to the said Policy.  The amendment to the criminal code seeks to elevate the anus of a male to equal status status with the vagina of a female… equating them as sexual organs. the Bill skillfully equates the unnatural act of sodomy with the natural act of copulation and while it claims to protect children Section 46, the Bill’s main premise, completely ignores the age issue. Notwithstanding the bill’s crass non legal terminologies and unscientific assertions, section 47 G (3) appears to allow Adults to legally bypass parental consent to give to a raped child  abortion services, contraception and the morning-after pill.

Interestingly, the international article stated that “the new bill will have its second reading on 8 October”. And while they did not get the event right, they did get the date right! PlusNews has just been reliably informed that the STANDING COMMITTEE that will review the bill and have public consultations is scheduled to meet this coming Tuesday. While we can only guess what the rush is, we have learnt that the Chairman of the Standing committee that will review the Bill is Hon Patrick Faber. he will be accompanied by several members; Form the government side; Hon John Saldivar, Hon Manuel Heredia, and Hon Herman Longsworth. from the opposition side there will be two members; Hon Dolores Balderamos Garcia, and Hon. Johnny Briceno.

Already, several Churches, Associations and leaders are preparing to make their dissent know.

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