UNIBAM and its supporters have launched a public campaign to promote the homosexual agenda in Belize in line with its lawsuit against the Government and people of Belize. “We are one” is the organizations campaign slogan. The campaign comes under the banner of “human rights” as UNIBAM prepares to legally challenge the constitutionality of section 53 of the criminal code. Although there has been no documented case where practising homosexuals have been legally tried for consensual same sex relations, the term “unnatural act” in that section has been claimed by homosexuals as referring to their lifestyle practise. Today’s campaign launch was aimed at uniting supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and their supporters were in attendance at today’s launch. UNIBAM’s major supporters are foreign entities but in Belize, key persons assisting UNIBAM in promoting the homosexual agenda are Kathy Esquivel, Chair of the National Aids Commission, Imani Fairweather Morrison of Oak Foundation, Attorneys Lisa Shoman and Antonette Moore along with other members of UNIBAM’s board.
Lisa Shoman, Attorney at Law
I started out as a solicitor, but since then I have taken on a more active role as advocate. I will continue to give this cause my personal support and I will continue to be refortified by the good works of local councils who are assisting in the endeavor and also several regional attorneys who are helping with the project. Most notably off course, is the UROC group out of the UWI, who are concerned with the preservation of human rights in the Caribbean.
Antonette Moore, Attorney at Law
As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general and in particular, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Where there is tension, between cultural attitudes and universal human rights – rights must carry the day. Together we seek the repeal of laws that criminalize homosexuality and that permits discrimination on the basis on sexual orientation and gender identity and that encourages violence, those are the words of the UN Secretary General.
At today’s launch, wristbands were distributed which read, “we are one in dignity and rights”. Caleb Orozco spoke about UNIBAM’s logo.
Caleb Orozco, UNIBAM
Our logo for this campaign will be the ‘No Hate’ design that you see here and there is a Facebook page that you go on and you simply ‘like it’ to show that you support us. We encourage everyone to like the page – everyone who is in solidarity with and supports the idea that we are one in dignity and rights. We have been doing planning with our Caribbean friends for the last five years in terms of our priorities in the region and in terms of what activists need in the region, so UNIBAM in itself is not the only vacuum in this advocacy.
UNIBAM’s campaign strategy has not just started today, however. According to Orozco, they have been doing a lot of ground work over the past five years and use social media such as facebook as a powerful strategic tool.
There are two groups ‘Belizeans for the Constitutional Challenge’ which is a closed group and ‘Se la vee’ which has given us space to advance our message. In fact, since the debate began, the entire case has generated over twenty-five hundred comments with our people chatting with our opponents from the religious side about their positions on sexual orientation and gender identity and on their position in regards to rights and so on. The Facebook of social networking is a key strategy in getting our message out and thus far we have operated with the intent of delivering a message that we are united. So that doesn’t change in regards to our modus operandi in getting our message out. However, more precisely, it is me getting support from a thousand plus Belizeans from Facebook and this starts with one of our supporters right there, Emani Fairweather, who has provided very good advice in terms of raising awareness on our issue. This is driven by Belizeans and not by anyone else.
And while Unibam’s court case goes for preliminary hearing on Monday January 30th, the argument UNIBAM presents is that it boils down to an issue of human rights and not morality. When asked by one journalist if he has any concerns over the churches’ opposition to the changing of the law, Orozco had this to say.
My good friends at the Catholic Church need to check their billion dollar budget. My good friends from the Anglicans church need to check their over draft and my good friends at the Evangelical association need to check their pastors. I’m not worried about the eternal damnation; my concern is simply to ensure that social justice prevails, not for a slight few, but for everyone in this case. I am just the face of an issue.
UNIBAM says it has 500 wristbands which will be distributed to supporters of their cause.