The part of Prime Minister Dean Barrow’s Independence Day address that perhaps raised the most eyebrows was his peroration on the matter of the culture wars being fought in Belize particularly over homosexuality. With no news of a decision by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin on the claim by Caleb Orozco in the Supreme Court which was heard this past May, the mention came out of the blue. Here is that part of the speech.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
Government will therefore fully respect the right of the churches to propagate their understanding of the morality, or immorality as the case may be, of homosexuality. But what Government cannot do is to shirk its duty to ensure that all citizens, without exception, enjoy the full protection of the law. After all, the Belize Constitution that affirms the supremacy of God also affirms fundamental rights and the dignity of the individual human being. That same Constitution further declares that all persons are equal before the law and entitled to non-discrimination; to freedom from interference with their privacy; and to freedom from unlawful attacks on their honor and reputation. There is, I submit, no logical inconsistency between these different tenets of our Constitution. And Government, the Churches and the Belizean people must find a way to uphold all the principles of our foundation document.
Within minutes of the statement, Belize Action under the hand of Pastor Scott Stirm sent out a short statement containing a copy of the statement. It stated that the speech was worded “very carefully” and added: “concerning “equal protection of the law” and Constitutional equality of things like health care, that we have no hesitations regarding those areas, as long as we’re standing upon the Constitution which lays an equal foundation for all Belizeans. As with our concerns on the Gender Policy, there’s a clear effort by elements to create new categories for rights & “diversity” that extend beyond the Constitution – and that we strongly oppose!” Stirm made a call for Christians to remain “resolute” and “humble” while “unwavering in our stand for Godliness in Belize.”