Concerned citizens assemble at the National Assembly

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Bills are ratified by the House of Representatives and subsequently the Senate on a periodic basis, but it’s not too often that a  meeting of the Standing Committee over that bill garners so much public scrutiny. Such was the case Tuesday afternoon as the committee met today at Independence Hill to review the Criminal Code Amendment Bill(2). This bill seeks to modify section 46 of the Criminal Code. One controversial part of the bill states “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 offense of rape and is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term that is no less than eight years but may extend imprisonment for life.” The problem with this amendment, argues protestors, is that while it is a legislation to protect children from predators, there are parts of the bill that seeks to equate sodomy with natural sex – a move that the LGBT community has said is one in their favor. At today’s meeting of the Standing Committee, the first group of ten presenters made their submissions before the committee. That meeting is still ongoing and we will have full coverage for you in Wednesday’s newscast. Following the meeting, it is expected that a press conference will be held by Clergy from a cross-section of Denominations, including Bishop D. Wright from the Roman Catholic Church, Bishop P Wright from the Anglican Church, President of the Evangelical Association Rev E. Crawford, Spanish Alliance of Leaders, as well as Belize Action, Belize Can, and Militia of the Holy Spirit. We’ll also bring you highlights of that press conference tomorrow. We note that outside the National Assembly, members of the church gathered, some engaging in a prayer and worship session.

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