Day three of the Challenge to Belize’s Sodomy Law

vlcsnap-2013-05-07-20h38m50s155Day three of the court hearing of  Caleb Orozco’s attempt to get rid of Belize’s sodomy laws got on the way today. On the first two days, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin heard from Orosco’s lawyers but today, lawyers for the Government of Belize and the church made their arguments. Deputy Solicitor General Nigel Hawke, representing the government, told the court this morning that  Orosco has failed to prove that the rights he seeks are expressly stated in and provided for by the Constitution of Belize. Hawke said that the court, in the absence of those rights, cannot take unto itself the power of “judicial expansion” of the law to satisfy a minority. According to Hawke, Orozco has spoken only generally of discrimination against himself and his fellows, but has been unable to point out where and what parts of the Constitution are violated; and he presented no empirical evidence. If he wants that changed, said Hawke, he has the right to go to the National Assembly and people of Belize and seek such a change, but he cannot use the court to act in an area where Parliament has sole control under the separation of powers doctrine. Hawke contended that Orozco has not been denied due process under Section 6 of the Constitution, the equal protection clause, and yet he seems to vlcsnap-2013-05-08-20h30m21s228want to have the court act in place of the politicians who are making him wait to repeal the law. Hawke concluded his arguments just before noon by proclaiming that it is the right of Belize as a sovereign nation to keep Section 53 on the books as long as the people want – and when the people wish to change it, they will so do. Until then, Hawke implored the court, that the people of Belize should be allowed through their leaders to determine their own future in terms of the national, social and moral code. In the afternoon, Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay spoke for the Church Interested Parties. SC Courtenay attacked Orozco’s standing to bring the case before the court, as in his affidavit he only made general statements about the treatment of homosexuals in Belize as reported to him and UNIBAM. If you remember, UNIBAM was struck out of the case as a claimant and Orosco did not specify problems caused by section 53 specific to himself. Well by this evening, Orozco addressed the media to say that he threats to himself and his property have recently increased.

Caleb Orozco:
vlcsnap-2013-05-09-20h41m42s45I found the right side of my car door stripped, the upper part of the glass broken and I found the back part of my car open. Later on I found out through a neighbour that the Police had checked for a report that there two masked guys who jumped my gate and get into my yard while I was sleeping. I knew nothing then.   

Orosco was also asked his thoughts on the case so far.

Caleb Orozco:
At this point, if you kept the original Justice, I would have been certain that our probability of getting a favorable ruling would not have happened. At this point, it’s a tossup and I honestly cannot tell you either way, but I can tell you that I am optimistic that this process is a little bit more fair than the start of this case.  

Yesterday, the Belize Council of Churches issued a press release condemning any form of violence against homosexuals or any other person.

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