Friday, August 31, 2012

Gayman betrays his community needs-Spouse redefine

Posted August 31st 2012

When we have a constitution that speaks to gender equality in its preamble as well as inalienable rights,  yet, could have religious institution dictate the fundamental rights and freedoms in practice. One must be concern that while we elect public officials to lead, we have  obsessed religious institutions who do not want any redefinition of the word spouse that would allow persons, be it friends, roommates, sweethearts, etc. to be able to jointly have loans or advance their economic interests. We now know that we live in a theocracy. It amazes me that the fundamental rights and freedoms can be thrown out the door so easily by bigots and sheepish persons who cannot stand for the constitution.
Whats worse a closeted gay man voted against the bill, despite the fact that he comes from the the L.G.B.T community. This in my mind is the ultimate betrayal, against a community that have longed been excluded from the legislative process. Now we see that the standard idiots met with Central Bank to try and get them to change the definition of the word spouse back to its traditional definition. Is this much adieu about nothing, I think not, as it is clear that the christian right wing is hell bent on blocking any advancement in right-enforcement in Belize. See link about the issue below...

Headline Highlights — 31 August 2012 — by Adele Ramos
Churches “bex bad” with GOB!

Government sneaked change to meaning of “spouse” in banking bill, already passed, to include homosexuals, etc.

 BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Aug. 30, 2012
The church community is up in arms over what appears to some to be an attempt by the Government to sneak a definition onto Belize’s law books that could pave the way for the sanctioning of homosexual unions in Belize. Although Government officials have told us this was not really their intent, the churches began an impassioned lobby today to ask the Government to remove the controversial clause which one representative said leads down a “dangerous road.”
Roman Catholic Bishop Dorick Wright led a delegation from the churches this afternoon, which met with Central Bank officials to speak with them about their concerns over the proposed Domestic Banks and Financial Institutions Bill. Wright was accompanied by Maria Zabaneh of the Bishop’s Council; Eugene Crawford, president of the Evangelical Association of Belize; and Scott Stern and Louis Wade of Belize Action, which has been advocating against the decriminalization of homosexuality in Belize.
Interestingly, when Amandala called Bishop Wright this morning to ask him why the churches were concerned about the banking bill and why they voted against it in the Senate yesterday, he told us that he knew nothing, because he essentially wasn’t paying attention to the matter. One man who was paying attention, though, was Rev. Noel Leslie, Vicar General of the R.C. Diocese of Belize assigned to the St. Joseph Parish in Belize City, who accompanied Wright to the Central Bank meeting.
While the churches had been generally supportive of the banking bill and were expected to give their full support for it when it was introduced in the Senate yesterday, Rev. Noel Leslie raised eyebrows when he voted against it, without specifying at the Senate meeting exactly why he was doing so.
Leslie told Amandala today that the piece of proposed legislation goes down a “dangerous road” by casting a very wide definition of spouse that would seem to legitimize same-sex unions.
“The churches have a policy against same-sex relations and at first glance when you read [the bill] you can jump to a conclusion,” he commented.
The Senator told us he could not say “yes” knowing where the churches stand in relation to the issue of homosexual unions. The definition adds to “wife” and “husband” the term “other individual,” which, Leslie said is not in accordance with how the churches see spouses. He suggested that the definition of spouse is “too open” and it needs to be fine-tuned to make the bill acceptable to them.
That definition says: A wife, husband, or other individual with whom the first named natural person is engaged in an ongoing conjugal relationship, whether common-law union as defined by section 148(D) of the Supreme Court Judicature Act, or not, and whether or not the two people are living together.
Meanwhile, the Domestic Violence Act, an older piece of legislation, has a very specific and narrow meaning: a person of the opposite sex to the first-mentioned person who is living with the first-mentioned person as the person’s husband or wife, although not legally married to the first-mentioned person, or if not living with that person, is a parent, but not a grandparent, of a child of that person.
Apart from the definition of spouse, though, the banking bill is fine and they support it, said Leslie.
The Senator for the churches told us that when he read the definition last week, he felt it didn’t “gel.” During yesterday’s Senate meeting, he said, the wider meaning that the new bill attempts to give to the word “spouse” was addressed by Opposition People’s United Party Senator Lisa Shoman, and Leslie told us that he, too, was very concerned.
Shoman is a noted attorney and is, interestingly, one of the attorneys representing United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) in their constitutional challenge against the criminalization of homosexuality in Belize.
She told Amandala that indeed, the definition of spouse in the proposed banking bill is “unusual”. She pointed out to us that it has “a much wider” meaning.
“It doesn’t limit it to a man or woman,” Shoman said, adding that the definition of spouse in the new bill is “gender neutral.”
She said that she had asked for an explanation from the Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Godwin Hulse, but had received none.
Speaking with our newspaper this evening, Senator Hulse said that he just now became aware that the churches have an issue with the definition of spouse in the bill, and the Government could amend it if the churches are “making heavy weather over it.”
According to Hulse, Senator Leslie did not take issue with the definition of spouse at any time during the Senate meeting, although they could have—it was Opposition Senator Lisa Shoman who did.
As for the interpretation the churches get from the new definition of spouse, Senator Hulse said that it could mean same-sex marriages “if you stretch it,” but that wasn’t intended. He said that it could also mean a “sweetheart.”
Asked about the drafting of the banking bill, Senator Hulse said that the Commonwealth Secretariat had helped, but the bill was reportedly prepared by Belize’s Solicitor General Cheryl Krusen.
We understand that following today’s meeting with the Central Bank, the churches received a commitment from the Bank that it would recommend a change to the definition of “spouse” in the banking bill in line with the concerns raised by the churches. A Central Bank official told our newspaper that they will do what they can to address the concern of the churches – but they can only “recommend.”
Leslie told our newspaper that the church representatives had a very good meeting today with the Central Bank. The church representatives are expected to meet again shortly to formalize their position before they formally take their concerns to Senator Hulse, the Leader of Government Business, in the hope that he would convey them to Cabinet.
Amandala understands from official sources that the bill has not yet been signed into law, since the statutory instrument to repeal Banks and Financial Institutions Act, the law which the new one will replace, has not yet been completed.
(See related story in this issue of Amandala featuring concerns of the private sector over the banking bill, in which they say that the law, which bolsters the regulatory powers of the Central Bank, is “too draconian.”)


Monday, August 13, 2012

C-FAM twist on Sexual Rights

Sexual Rights and Religious Freedom

Posted by on Aug 4, 2012 in Current Issues Global | 0 comments
A presentation by Family Watch International at the World Congress of Families VI in Madrid, Spain, in 2012 addressed what the presenters call “Cultural Imperialism,” the hijacking of religious rights by the sexual rights agenda, which seeks to place sexual rights above even the freedom of speech.  The presentation was well received, and representatives from many countries asked for copies (see the PDF file here).   Family Watch International is creating a film on this subject, to be released in the future.
Sharon Slater, president of the non-profit group, gave the presentation.  She defined “sexual rights” as the following:
Rights to contraception, abortion, sexual expression (cross dressing, nudity), pornography (sale and use of), sexual relations, age of consent, sexual orientation, gender identity (identity papers, hormone therapy, sex change operations, etc.), sodomy,  employment, housing, adultery, prostitution, use of public facilities, civil unions, marriage, adoption, fertility services, wedding services, and sexual education.
Slater said the real battle is the war over the context in which sexual relations should occur.  The pro-family view is that sexual relations should only occur within the context of traditional marriage, as defined as the legal union of a man and a woman.  She defined the view of sexual activists as follows:
•All humans are sexual from birth
•Obtaining “sexual pleasure” is one of the highest goals in life
•The pursuit of sexual pleasure is a fundamental international human right
•Gender is fluid
Slater claims that sexual rights under these terms and religious rights cannot coexist.  Slater considers the following the main tactics of sexual rights activists:
1.Misinterpret human right instruments
(Tools: UN agencies, documents, rapporteurs, committees, High Commissioner, UNSG)
2.Mandate “comprehensive sexuality education”
3.Exploit HIV/AIDS pandemic
Slater cited the “Yogyakarta Principles” devised in the Indonesian city of the same name and meant to define and promote sexual rights worldwide.  Principle 21 of the published principles says: “Sexual Rights Trump Religious Freedom.”  “Ensure that the expression, practice and promotion of different opinions,convictions and beliefswith regard to issues of sexual orientation or gender identity is not undertaken in a manner incompatible with human rights.”
Comprehensive sexuality education is designed to raise up the next generation to demand their “sexual rights.”
The following quote is from a paper distributed at the United Nations: ““…young people . . . are entitled to sexual pleasure and how to experience different forms of sexual pleasure is important for their health and well-being.”  The publication is from International Planned Parenthood.  The brochure encourages all sorts of sexual practices for pleasure.  Their promotion is called “It’s All One,” and the brochure is titled “Guidelines and Activities for a Unified Approach to Sexuality, Gender, HIV, and Human Rights Education.”  On the front cover is an assortment of youth.
The brochure discusses sexual minorities and how their rights are abused.  Also, Q & A on masturbation, orgasm, ejaculation, oral sex, sexual fantasies and sexually pleasing a partner.  The priorities have been established by “the global health and education agencies, including the United Nations General Assembly, UNAIDS, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNESCO.”   IPPF is funded by U.N. agencies.   In 2010 it received around 3.5 million U.S. dollars from UNFPA, UNAIDS, UN Women, WHO, and the World Bank.
UNESCO published “International Guidelines on Sexuality Education.”  The curriculum guidelines presented include the following:
•“respect” for “sexual and gender diversity”
(“aman who becomes a woman and is attracted to other women would be identified as a lesbian”)
•“masturbationis not harmful”
•“both men and women can give and receive sexual pleasure with a partner of the same or opposite sex”
UNAIDS has created International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights.  They propose the following:
Nations must legalize:
•“adultery, sodomy, fornication and commercial sexual encounters”
•“same -sex marriages”
“In today’s world of political correctness and tolerance, to sin is not a sin, but to call a sin a sin is a sin.”
Family Watch International received invitations to premiere their documentary in Ghana, South Africa, Mexico, and Columbia.  Government officials and leaders of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have also offered to have the documentary shown to parliaments and/or on national TV in a number of countries and to otherwise help them distribute it in Hungary, Holland, Italy, Kenya, Trinidad, Jamaica, Saint Lucia and Sweden among other countries.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

Attack elevated to UN

Posted 12th August

Channel 5 Story
Aug 8, 2012

The tooth about UNIBAM founder’s beating now a UN matter?

Caleb Orozco
From our research, it appears to be the first such case on human rights; but the beating of Caleb Orozco, the president of UNIBAM, has been elevated to the United Nations. The UN Special Rapporteurs on the promotion and protection on freedom of expression and on the situation of human rights defenders have both written to the government seeking answers on the incident. Orozco was allegedly attacked on George Street on February eighth. At the time it was reported that he was threatened by men shouting anti-gay remarks and that one of them threw a beer bottle at him. The bottle hit him in the face and he suffered a broken tooth. In the four-page document dated February twenty-ninth, the UN’s Human Rights Council is expressing concern that the alleged attack may be related to Orozco’s work in advocating for LGBTI rights. Specifically, the government is asked to respond to five issues; to verify the allegations by Orozco, if a complaint has been lodged, the details of the investigation and prosecution and what measures government is putting in place for the protection of the integrity of the UNIBAM president. That information will then form a report to the Human Rights Council. As, we said we have not been able to find any other such complaint on human rights to the UN, that has required the government to respond.

Reporter coverage of UN request

UN rapporteur defends Caleb Orozco’s human rights

Caleb Orozco has become the most recognizable face of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM), which is the group leading the debate for human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) people; and now a Special Rapporteur of the United National High Commission for Human rights has stepped in to champion his cause.
Frank La Rue and Margaret Sekaggya, special rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and the situation of human rights defenders, have written to the government of Belize, through Belize’s ambassador to the U.N., to request information on the progress (or lack thereof) of the police investigation into the attack on Orozco, in which someone threw an empty beer bottle at Orozco’s head on George Street on February 8 this year, bruising his face and damaging his teeth.
Orozco had reported the matter to the Police and to the local media but very little came of it. Now the special rapporteurs are requesting the details and results of any police investigation and judicial inquiry into the attack.
The letter notes that the police were unable to identify Orozco’s attackers at the time, and inquired if anyone had been prosecuted and whether the alleged attackers had been punished in any way.
The rapporteurs also ask what protective measures are being afforded to Orosco to allow him to proceed with his legitimate activities in defence of human rights.
The UNIBAM movement had lodged an action in the Supreme Court in September 2010 challenging section 53 of the Belize Criminal Code, in that it violates several provisions of the Belizean Constitution because it disproportionately harms sexual minorities in Belize.
Section 53 reads: “Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.”
The case wasset to go to court in February 2011, but was delayed when other interested parties joined the court action on both sides of the argument. Hearings began in July, but it was further adjourned and the matter is still before the court.