Catholics no longer appealing Section 53; will GOB back down?

The Catholic Church in Belize has withdrawn itself from the appeal of the decriminalization of Homosexuality; Section 53 case. Justice Kenneth Benjamin ruled that section 53 was unconstitutional. The Government of Belize filed an appeal after pressure from the public while the Catholic Church remained as an interested party. Just last month, the attorney for the Catholic Church asked the court to be removed as legal representative of the church. Having  failed to file any legal arguments to meet the deadlines for the case management, the catholic church indicated that it would wholly withdraw its appeal against the Respondent. Today, the matter came up before the court. The media spoke to Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, representing GOB.

Solicitor General Nigel Hawke

We understand where the decision stands cause our appeal is, as we always said, our appeal is a limited appeal so substantive decision stands. It appears the president of the court of appeal was very strenuous in trying to convince you that, okay, so since that part of the appeal is over there needs not be this appeal of this sexual orientation interpreted by the Chief Justice. Tell the court invite me to look at certain circumstances as you know I’m a law officer of the Crown so I have to take instructions on the information from the court so we’ll see how that goes they have also indicated that they will write to us.

Attorney for Caleb Orosco, Lisa Shoman, expressed delight in the Catholic church’s withdrawal.

Lisa Shoman, Attorney at Law

First of all, let me say how delighted me and my clients are that the Roman Catholic Church withdrew their appeal and I would like Belizeans to know that my client Mr. Orosco has been very clear that we are not seeking any type of legal cost against the Roman Catholic Church. That leaves then only appeal Number 32 of 2016 which is the state of the Attorney General against Mr. Orosco and the interesting parties which include of course UNIBAM so what the president of the court of appeal was communicating to the Solicitor General is that the state should consider very carefully it’s options as to whether it wishes to proceed because, in the words of the president, one of the principal participants has now left the stage and that it was virtually the view of the Court that State stands alone.

If GOB intends to pursue the matter, the trial will be in June.

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