Saturday, June 29, 2013

Redefining marriage

Redefining marriage

The US Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key provisions of the Defence of Marriage Act has been hailed as a landmark moment for gay rights in America. A more realistic assessment would note that same-sex marriage is still banned or unavailable in 37 American states and considerable legal hurdles remain if the definition of marriage is to be taken out from the control of individual states as Roe v Wade did with abortion rights. The implacable defence of “traditional marriage” by Christian groups within the United States has made the ruling an important skirmish within America’s ever-strident culture wars, but it is far from an outright victory.
During the last twelve months six American states have legalized same-sex marriage, bringing the total to 12 prior to the present squabble, initially over California’s Proposition 8. That particular battle has now been resolved with the court’s decision to rule in favour of same-sex unions. Further afield there has been a comparable shift in public opinion. Already legal in 11 countries (among them Argentina, Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands) gay marriage is being legalized with increasing frequency in many parts of the world. This year alone Brazil and France legalized same-sex unions, and New Zealand and Uruguay are poised to enact similar legislation. A month from now, more than half a billion people will reside in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriage, more than twice the number just a year ago.
For practical purposes the DoMA decision means that same-sex couples who are legally married, according to the laws of their states, are entitled to non-discriminatory treatment from the federal government. The decision is particularly important, and long overdue, with respect to benefits like Social Security and veterans’ payments. In the past, various federal agencies used different criteria to assess whether a same-sex marriage was “valid.” These inconsistencies have been swept aside in the latest ruling, but the court refrained — significantly — from defining same-sex marriage as a constitutional right. That omission has heartened Christian groups throughout America.
Beyond the narrow legal reasoning in the current Supreme Court decision, however, there is an acknowledgement that the defence of “traditional marriage” has increasingly been used to stigmatize same-sex couples. The disgraceful marginalization of gay soldiers is but one aspect of this discrimination. In a significant passage in the majority opinion (in the 5-4 decision), Justice Kennedy writes that “[t]he avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status, and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States.”
Kennedy’s language echoes earlier civil rights phrasing, in Brown v Board of Education (1954), which, among other things, refuted the ridiculous notion that black and white schools were “separate but equal” and it also harks back to the less well-known 1967 decision in Loving v Virginia, a case that invalidated laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage. Observers outside the United States should note how recent these civil rights victories were. It should give pause to everyone in a culturally diverse region like the Caribbean that almost 50 years ago the state of Virginia was legally permitted to jail a white man for the crime of marrying a black woman. Those who argue that “traditional marriage” cannot be easily redefined should think carefully about this case before making sweeping assertions. Contemporary opposition to same-sex unions will almost certainly appear as shortsighted and demeaning to future American citizens as the pre-Loving prejudices seem to us today.
The Caribbean has always been, and largely remains, vociferously opposed to the acknowledgement of same-sex intimacy. If nothing else the recent US debates over the issue have shown how backward so many of our prevailing attitudes on these matters really are. Nobody who has lived in a tolerant country would ever wish to turn back the clock, especially when they see – as they inevitably do – the freedom such tolerance brings to the lives of gay friends and family members who would otherwise live in unbearable secrecy.
Same-sex marriage, at this stage, is probably a bridge too far, but civilized tolerance is certainly within our grasp. Local groups like the Equal Rights Trust and the Society against Sexual Orientation Discrimination have clearly shown the inconsistency between our current anti-discrimination laws and others which criminalize “same-sex intimacy between men and cross-dressing by both men and women.” It is high time that civil society had an honest conversation about these incendiary issues, and set about resolving them.


Friday, June 28, 2013

Christian and LGBT Groups Brought the Battle for Gay Rights to Caribbean

Reposted June 28th, 2013

Christian and LGBT Groups Have Brought the Battle for Gay Rights to the Caribbean

Controversy over the region's colonial-era "buggery" laws is exposing a new form of advocacy -- and anti-colonialism.
, THE ATLANTICJUN 27 2013, 11:36 AM ET
After two young men were seen having sexual intercourse in a university bathroom in Jamaica last year, they were set upon by a mob, who cheered as security guards kicked, punched, and slapped one of the boys. The attack was yet another sign that homophobia is alive and well in many Caribbean nations.
The West is known for exporting its culture, but also its culture wars. The fight for gay rights abroad is the latest example. Powerful, U.S.-based Christian-conservative groups and a network of pro-LGBT transnational actors have each become deeply involved in debates about homosexuality in many countries of the Global South.
Today, criminal bans on sodomy still exist in a whopping 78 countries, many holdovers from British colonialism.
These gay "proxy wars" are especially intense in former English colonies. These territories are inheritors of an acute obsession with sexual puritanism, which is evident in how their laws treat homosexuality. Convinced that native societies were morally corrupt and licentious, colonial governments and pastors prescribed harsh laws against same-sex relations in British territories. These "buggery" statues became a colonial mainstay in the 19th century. Originally, these laws banned any form of "unnatural connection," including bestiality, but their lasting impact has been the criminalization of male homosexuality. Today, criminal bans on sodomy still exist in a whopping 78 countries, many holdovers from British colonialism.
But 200 years later, change is starting to take root. Even in the most intolerant places, local actors have emerged to revoke these laws. Needless to say, they face formidable opponents.
International actors have passionately joined these foreign battles. For supporters of LGBT rights in the Global North, the myriad injustices that the world's sexual minorities suffer equate to grave human rights violations. Some European nations, and now even the U.S. State Department, have made LGBT-protection an important part of their objectives abroad.
For conservative religious organizations, mostly in the United States, foreign countries represent not just a fresh opportunity to influence the debate over homosexuality, but also a source of fundraising and followers. Even before the June 26 Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage in the United States, these groups recognized that they were losing the gay-rights debate at home, but they figure that their chances are better abroad.
The Anglophone Caribbean is a prominent example of this exported culture war -- sodomy bans exist in 11 Caribbean nations. Although though these buggery laws are hardly ever enforced, they give credence to actors who promote intolerance. From openly homophobic artists to tourist officials resistant to gay visitors, the English-speaking Caribbean is no gay paradise.
The good news is that these laws are no longer taken for granted. In 2011, the current prime minister of Jamaica campaigned promising to end buggery laws. On June 25 this year, the Jamaican Supreme Court heard a complaint against the nation's buggery laws. That case paralleled another petition to repeal Jamaica's law before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). In May, the Belizean Supreme Court tried a challenge to Section 53 of its criminal code, which condemns "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" with 10 years in prison. Later that month, the prime minister of Dominica was compelled to weigh in on the debate in his own country, asserting that repeal of the sodomy ban was out of the question for the "foreseeable future." A few days later, newspapers in Grenada published a letter from the president of the senate urging a review of the island's buggery law. Similar legal challenges to sodomy bans have occurred this year in several other former British colonies - Singapore, India, and Northern Cyprus.
The bad news is that these folks are fighting not just local mores, but also a large battalion of U.S. churches and church-related groups siding with the defenders of the status quo.
Many of these small Caribbean nations frequently host Phillip Lee, director of the California-based religious organization His Way Out Ministries, which has ties to Focus on the Family. Lee, a man who says he's formerly gay and has renounced "the lifestyle," preaches that prayer can reverse same-sex attractions. He has met with high-level officials such as the governor general of Jamaica and the mayor of Port of Spain, the capital of Trinidad and Tobago. In his words, "the Caribbean is ripe for ex-gay ministry planting and development." In March of this year, Lee traveled to Guyana (which he claims to have visited some 20 times) as well as to Trinidad and Tobago. In both counties, he made several radio and television appearances, hosted well-attended workshops, and publically expressed support for keeping sodomy bans on the books. In Belize, the most prominent advocate of maintaining the country's buggery law is Scott Stirm, a Texan emigre and the founder of Belize Action, the main organization opposing the effort to decriminalize sodomy. AsThe Economist recently reported, Stirm's efforts are buoyed by support from the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based religious advocacy organization.
Pro-LGBT international advocacy groups have sought to contain this crusade. Their strategy has largely hinged on the inclusion of LGBT issues within the human rights agenda of multilateral forums, such as the IACHR and prominent NGOs. AIDS-Free World, based in New York City, filed the challenges against Jamaica's buggery laws, both before theJamaican Supreme Court and theIACHR. It has also launched a lawsuit against two Jamaican TV stations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting of Jamaica (PBCJ) over their refusal to air a pro-gay PSA, and is also challenging the travel ban on homosexuals inBelize and Trinidad and Tobago. In Belize, the Human Dignity Trust, the International Commission of Jurists, and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association have all joined the fray as interested parties in support of the complainant. Their representation includes Lord Peter Goldsmith, former attorney general for England and Wales.
Domestically, these international influences are generating backlash. A visit to Trinidad and Tobago by Phillip Lee in 2010 provoked, in the words of the country's most prominent gay rights organization, "the largest (and perhaps the first) GLBT protest in T&T's history." Young people, galvanized by the harmful effects that reparative therapy has had on their counterparts in the United States, organized the gatherings to challenge Lee's "message of exclusion and conversion." One organizer cited the elevated rates of suicides among LGBT youth in the United States as grounds to resist the ex-gay movement in Trinidad and Tobago.
At the same time, critics of LBGT rights have assumed a hyper-nationalist position, decrying international LGBT groups for importing their "foreign models." Advertisements in Belize, for instance, have sought to portray the case before the country's Supreme Court as an example of moral decadence being dragged into Belize by Barack Obama (see herehere, or here). Prior to the arguments before the Supreme Court, protestors in Jamaica lambasted the buggery case as emblematic of the attempt by gay rights advocates to "take over the world."
Local conservative groups have thus turned the debate about gay rights into a debate against neocolonialism. The paradox is that some of these groups decry interventionism even though they themselves are welcoming anti-gay Christian movements from abroad.
International pro-LGBT rights group thus have perplexing problem on their hands: helping local actors fight against transnational Christian forces while at the same time protecting themselves from accusations of neocolonialism. It seems that aid from religious groups is not subject to the same imperialist stigma, not to mention the fact that buggery laws themselves were imposed on Caribbean societies from outside.
Conditionality could become one way to fight the status quo. Foreign stakeholders are beginning to require countries to adopt friendlier gay policies in exchange for, in this case, tourist dollars or foreign aid. When the Grenadian president of the senate urged a review of the anti-sodomy law, a principal reason he gave was that wealthier nations could impose sanctions on the island as punishment for not doing so. AIDS-Free world, meanwhile, claims its petition before the IACHR is intended to shame Jamaica, thereby imperiling tourist revenues.
But these approaches can also be counterproductive. They risk placing local LGBT populations in an antagonistic position vis-à-vis society, as they stand to shoulder the blame for sanctions intended to punish homophobic lawmakers.
Colin Robinson, executive director of a gay rights organization based in Trinidad and Tobago, asserts that a model that hinges on international arbitration rather than domestic action often comes at the "expense of nurturing local political alliances, of building ownership of GLBT issues by other sexual rights stakeholders, of developing strategic power domestically, ... or simply of being politically innovative in response to local conditions." For example, Jamaica's main LGBT organization has sought to stem international boycotts of dancehall music. While this genre has been marked by virulently homophobic rhetoric in the past, local activists worry that foreign boycotts unwittingly punish reformed artists and alienate gay rights activism from an important component of national culture.
International pro-LGBT groups could also focus more on on-the-ground objectives - such as reducing school bullying, homelessness, workplace discrimination, police and teacher sensitivity training, scholarly exchanges. Swaying public opinion, which can only be done by domestic groups, might be better than turning punitive.
In the end, there is no easy solution. Local pro-LGBT rights groups need all the help they can get, especially where it is unsafe to be openly pro-gay, as it is in many parts of the Caribbean, and this alone is an argument for continued help from abroad.
International pro-LGBT actors should thus stand ready to help, but being careful not to create new problems for the very constituencies they are trying to support. The last thing the LGBT community needs is yet another pejorative label, in the form of "Made in the USA."
Caribbean Forum for Liberation and Acceptance of Genders and Sexualities (CariFLAGS) Secretariat • Colin Robinson, Manager

Eastern Caribbean: Kenita Placide, Castries  Latin American Caribbean: Deivis de Jesús Ventura Peña, Sto Domingo  Southern Caribbean: Richie Maitland, Port of Spain  Western Commonwealth Caribbean: Brian-Paul Welsh, Kingston


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BIO of an Activists

 Posted June 26th, 2013

Born 5th December, 1973, my mom explained to me that she did not think I would live in my early years, as I was in and out of the hospital. I remember going to the clinic for the old hospital and discovering that they had left something in a stomach scars to fester. Luckily, they got it in time. I can remember, years ago, the many times in high school, I rushed home from St. John's College to fine my father cooking so that I could get something to eat and rush back in time for classes for 1:00 o'clock. I remember, one particular time, reaching home, to fine my father right hand bleeding from a large cut and still cooking so I could have something to eat. The reason he had the cut was because he fell off his bike dropped a ketchup bottle and fell on one of the pieces of broken glasses from the bottle. He did not have a car, but used a bicycle to get around. I simply walked back and forth to school. To this day, I hate cars.

Overcoming obstacles have been part of my growing up, if it was not years of respiratory ill-health, it was navigating normal sibling rivalry that I thought was unnecessary at the time. The point is mute as my brother Drew Ozaeta died from Hutchinson Lymphoma-a cancer related to the lymphatic system and my other brother, I told him, " if your wife kicked you out the house, no call! If she you are jailed, no call!" and so on and on. It was later that I found out that my brother was married with three children, whom, to my surprise he named one of his sons Caleb. Over time, I had watched my father deteriorated from a healthy mobile man to a person who could barely walk on his legs to not at all. He used to use a blue wheelchair and sit downtown to hustle to bring food home to the family, until he got sick and I called the ambulance to take him to the hospital. Three days before that, I had a dream that he would be hospitalized, I just did not know how real the dream would become. I remember vividly, how, I was asked to go on a bus for Minister Faith Babb, as they were reading the Sexual Harassment Bill. Upon getting on the bus, I felt nauseous and a insistent need to return home. When I got home, I found my father shaking, a hauntingly repeated moment that reflected a dream. that followed a process, of calling the ambulance and 45 days later my father died. Interestingly enough, on the day he died I was on a bus on my way to Belmopan to a Youth Camp, but half way through the bus ride, I felt his aura leave him, thinking nothing of it, we arrived at the 4H compound, one hour later after arriving, was told they could not pay me. I simply knew he had died without anyone telling me. When I arrived home, I did not need anyone to tell. 

I found out while he was alive that a cotton was left in his bed sore that festered until it rotten to the bone. He eventually died from osteomyelitis and blood poisoning. I was to give blood, but could not give blood because I was "risky." On the day of his burial, only when sand touched the funeral box, did I realized he died. Interestingly enough, right after his burial, my uncle and his family crashed into a tree. They we alright though. The entire family was so out of it after that, that we all went dancing the same night. Coping is a process, as I accepted his death only after watching a superman series where Superman almost lost Lois Lane. This was when I had time to breakdown, for but a moment, for just me, because I lost a father.

I seems the name Caleb means something, as I found out it meant, " Servant of the Lord," "courageous" and  "dog." When I started high school, I was awkward, a clown, but matured into an intelligent, observant mind because of a natural tendency to seek self-improvement. I fought homophobes infront of Nazarene High school who sought to make an example out of me. I called out the biggest one and we fought again in the middle of Central American Boulevard, his name was GI Joe. I fought bullies in primary school, like, Kevin Cadle and then again in front of St. Johns High School. Years later, I would meet Kevin at the Hostel, reformed, more educated and more affirming of himself and me. My anger melted, as I realized the many painful issued he was dealing with. Eventually, we became friends enough that he invited me to his wedding in Orange Walk. How could I not say yes?

High school was about being self-deprecating, being focus and self-driven. When I needed to sell pints to meet my 12:00 o'clock meal I did so, when it was about taking out the cafeteria trash, I did so and got the left over Dario's meat pies to bring home. I saw my grade move up from C's to B's. In 4th Form, I managed to get my CXC's paid for by working Summer with Father Stochl of SJC. I eventually paid all the CXC's back and got into 6th Form. I must note that I was part of the Junior Achievement program, we were suppose to elect a Board for the class company and I wanted VP of marketing, 8 times the class voted and 8 times I failed to get the job, eventually, I stuck it out, took over the job by default and won a trip to the JA International conference at the University of Indiana in 1992. The experience taught me something about perseverance. I have to say getting to 6th Form was no easy task, staying there was a feat. Family stress was so intense,  I dropped out, but for a day. It was Elaine Gomez who made sure I re-registered  at the Evening School and 4 years later, I got my associated degree. I did not walk up for graduation, for I owed the school, but 2 years later, I finally paid to get the degree. How I would get to university was a puzzle, I had no job and no direction. What I had was a drive to meet my goal to get my bachelor degree by age 30. 

It was at a stress management course that I attended at St. Mary's in Belize City, that I found a fellow, 7 years my junior who had gotten his master degree. I said to my self, I have brains, got mad and the following day marched down- more like rode- to Ministry of Education Office got my application for a scholarship and filled it out. Months later, I called the person on the review committee for confirmation they received my application and a few weeks later, received my letter that they would have paid for tuition. At the time, I was an office assistant with a credit union account. Each semester, I borrowed the money, paid it back  and in 2004 managed to get my Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. My Journal was started in 1997, spoke to me seeking to be a historic figure, curing a bad cough and getting my BA by the age of 30. It seems in 2013, I have achieved my entries.

Sacrifice seems to follow me having a father who stopped his physio-therapy in Chicago to ensure that his children was well. Having a mother who worked for the former country representative for UNICEF for years, doing odd cooking jobs to ensure that her younger children made it through school. We all did. I am the 3rd in the line of children, so I maintained my own independent streak. I have also been in the group, but never totally of the group, so social isolation has been the exception rather than the rule. 

I am now, 39-year-old, an advocate, health educator, activist with two decades of experience in the human development sector. For the past seven years, I have worked primarily within the field of HIV and human rights as Executive President of the United Belize Advocacy Movement, a registered NGO in Belize.
Through legislative analysis, litigation, and public education, I have worked tirelessly to advocate for a participatory and rights based approach to health services for HIV affected and marginalized populations and for the eradication of discriminatory laws that impact these communities in the Caribbean.  As the the principal litigant in the Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General of Belize litigation. Litigation remains one layer of work that the Organization does.

The University of the West Indies Rights Advocacy Project PR consultant  outline my work history in the following way,  she explains:

"Orozco is active at the hemispheric level in international and regional efforts to raise the standard of protection and human rights enforcement for L.G.B.T populations. He has worked tirelessly through mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review, Caribbean Treatment Action Group, PANCAP, CFLAGS, the OAS General Assembly, and the Convention on Civil and Political Rights to engage in dialogue advancing the cause of privacy, equality and access to health and is the author of several articles and shadow reports pertaining to the health rights of LGBT persons and the threats on their safety and personhood. 

Says Orozco, “My work is driven by the belief that an individual mistreatment is perpetuated by silence.   I am silent no more.”

 Neither threats, not insults will stop me from ensuring that justice exists for all, as the work I do, recognizes a gaping hole in rights enforcement for marginalised groups, women, and children. I don't believe rights are to be negotiated, but that dialogue has value as we cannot advance development as a country with ideological distraction. In the end, someone has to pioneer rights enforcement, L.G.B.T Citizens is just the last bastion to experience resistance in regards to advancing rights protection.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Bermuda Passes Human Rights Act that prevents discrimination base on sexual oreintation

Reposted: June 19th, 2013

Human Rights Act Amendment Passed by Parliament: Our Statement to the Press

The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, would like to applaud the government’s decision on Friday, June 14th, to pass the amendment to the Human Rights Act to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. We are proud of all the brave voices who spoke in favour of the amendment and of protecting the fundamental human rights of the LGB community.
This legislation would not be possible without years of campaigning by countless activists and groups, particularly Dr. John Stubbs, Two Words and a Comma, Centre for Justice, the Allen Vincent Smith Foundation, the Human Rights Commission, and Amnesty International Bermuda. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda sincerely thanks all of these allies.
Based on the emotional, confused, and sometimes offensive tenor of the debates that took place surrounding the amendment, it is evident that there is still work for us to do in the Bermudian community to combat homophobia, improve understanding, and address misconceptions. The Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda will continue this important work, while continuing to provide safe spaces for the LGBTQ community members and allies. The LGBTQ community will not be shamed, silenced, or condemned and we hope to work together to create equity for all of Bermuda’s citizens.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Stirm selling Jim Jones Cool Aid and Lies about Belize's Gender Policy

Posted 17th June, 2013

              A moral Authority is defined as the quality or characteristic of being respected for having good character or knowledge, especially as a source of guidance or an exemplar of proper conduct. When one compares the definition  to actual practice the conclusion is just the opposite. The current debate on the gender policy have added  “UNIBAM helped draft it and it includes the homosexual agenda.” Such a statement is inaccurate, an insult to women and the effort of the National Women's Commission who ensured that there were multiply stakeholders in the development of the policy. The call for the gender policy to be "redone"  see original story at is not only an undeclared war on women and children, but on fundamental right and freedoms. He seem to prefer to behave like Jim Jones or David Koresh of the Davidian Compound in WACO Texaco. 

        Lets explore another claim, Stirm speaks of the Australian High Commission recognizes 24 genders. According the its passport website, its recognises male, female and X clear evidence that it does not and that Stirm is lying to the Belizean public Furthermore, they issued their guideline which establishes their policy here

       This is not his first time at histronics, at a presentation at Galen February, 2012, shared that the ACLU was seeking to sue  a high school in the US to allow gay porn. We fact check and found that it was to allow L.G.B.T supportive sites and that they supported filtering out porn site. The report states"
the ACLU lawsuit ...required the Camdenton Schools to allow access to positive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) websites." See link for report

      The histrionics continues in the latest Cayo Star article June 16th, 2013 where it was written
"Firstly, it’s important for everyone to understand that POLICY IS THE LAST STEP BEFORE LAW!!!!
Attorneys who draft legislation have told us when you see a Policy in place, the legal framework is
ALREADY underway for that to become LAW!!"

     He ignores the public consultations that must take place across the country, that the Solicitor  General has its own procedures, that the legislative process goes through many legislative refinements to address rational concerns. What this writing implies is that the process is secretive which is furthest from the truth.

         The illiteracy does not stop with not understanding the legislative process, he seems to not  understand the issue of gender vs sexual orientation and deliberately mixes the issues. The Cayo Star  article points out,  "Once you include the term “sexual orientation,” the meaning of “gender” has been tweaked to include the homosexual “genders,” LGBTQIAPAA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Panseuxal, Asexual, Androgynous + at least 15 MORE!!"  Can I say ludicrous! Gender is the sum of cultural values, attitudes, roles, practices, and characteristics based on sex. Gender, as it has existed historically, cross-culturally, and in contemporary societies, reflects and perpetuates particular power relations between men and women (PAHO, 2000).
             The article in the Cayo Star speaks to : homosexual " genders"  and 15 or more, but such a simplistic description ignores  the fact that the term L.G.B. is sexual attraction, not gender while the T is both about sexual attraction and gender identity. The term intersex: They are exceedingly rare individuals who have both ovarian and testicular tissue in their bodies; their external genitals are often a mixture of male and female structures (Used to be called hermaphrodites or true hermaphrodites; no longer use these last two terms; they are archaic and offensive).  It is a set of medical conditions that feature congenital anomaly of the reproductive and sexual system. That is, intersex people are born with "sex chromosomes," external genitalia, or internal reproductive systems that are not considered "standard" for either male or female. The existence of intersexuals shows that there are not just two sexes and that our ways of thinking about sex (trying to force everyone to fit into either the male box or the female box) is socially constructed.  Androgynous:  A person appearing and/or identifying as neither man nor woman, presenting a gender either mixed or neutral.  Asexual: A person who is not sexually attracted to any gender. Pansexual:A person who is fluid in sexual orientation and/or gender or sex identity. Queer: An umbrella term to refer to all LGBTIQ people. The article mixes have truths to make its point.

Stirm has never established what Belize L.G.B.T Human Right he would not argue under Belize Action nor has he defined what L.G.B.T. citizens Fundamental Rights and Freedoms are. He has claimed we want " special rights" on one hand and say we already have have human rights. Confusing? Well it confuses me too. There is homophobic bullying in schools, homophobic principals at the primary and high school levels who would deny a student an education. There is crime and violence in the home, on the streets, in jails that an L.G.B.T person may face based on their sexual orientation.  Do we have a right to be free  from torture and inhumane treatment, right to work, to make health decisions for our partners and have our benefits extended to him/her when he our she is ill or dying? Do we have a right to due process and access to justice when experiencing abuse?

The entire document, as well as completed  word scan, have been done and  no incidence of the quoted “equality rights over religious freedom,” or “customary, religious, & cultural practices . . .” anywhere in the document. In fact, neither the words religion or religious appear in the document anywhere. That means that these quotes are lies. Yet the word below were written nevertheless:

“‘Equality Rights Over Religious Freedom!’ . . . It goes on to say that all ‘customary, religious, & cultural practices MUST BE SUBJECT TO THE RIGHT OF EQUALITY!’ So “equality rights” trump religious freedoms, according to the new Gender Policy!”
 The actual statement is this: “Respect for Diversity: Men and women in Belize are not a homogeneous group. Rather, the population is comprised of persons of all ages who come from diverse races, cultures, ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientations, socio-economic situations and behavioural lifestyles. All policies and programmes must therefore reflect this reality of diversity among the Belizean populace.” Does anyone, even Belize Action, dispute the statements in the first and second sentences? And to leap from diversity to bestiality is surely jumping the shark to manipulate the reader. It is also slanderous to the LGBT community and their supporters.

“This whole Gender Policy is full of terminology of the LGBT agenda.”

The only words of the L.G.B.T agenda that turns up in the Gender Policy is “equality.” To say otherwise is like saying that the gender policy is written in English, and L.G.B.T people speak English, so the gender policy is dominated by LGBT words. Not only is this a lie and a slander, but it again insults the remarkable efforts of the women of the commission to write a balanced, informed, and careful document that incorporates Belize concerns and its international commitments.

This entire matter has been precipitated by that single mention in the document of “sexual orientation.” At that phrase, Belize Action leaders started drooling like Pavlovian dogs, and Stirm, like a poorly behaved dog, always tries to stick his nose in everyone’s crotch to sniff out what they’ve been doing in the privacy of their own homes. But sexual orientation isn’t really the crucial issue at all. Dominionist accretion of power is the issue. Gay people are just easy targets because there is so much animosity towards them by history. The Dominionists can’t get away with saying, “We want your permission to have our form of Christianity determine what you watch, what you hear, what you do, what the country’s laws are, what your family should be, what your children should be taught, how you should do business, what your think and believe, and what your religion should be. Okay?” But they can say without much fear, “The batty men are trying to rape your boys and recruit your young men, and sexually abuse your livestock.” And why not? They’ve gotten away with it so far.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Furbert's Attempt to prohibit Same-Sex marriage

Furbert’s attempt to prohibit same-sex marriage is voted down

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  • PLP MP Wayne Furbert

An attempt to specifically block same-sex marriage from the Human Rights Act Amendment was last night defeated 18 to 12 in the House of Assembly.
Progressive Labour Party MP Wayne Furbert sought to attach a proviso to the amendment stating that nothing within it could overturn any provision from the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1974 — which followed suit from UK law in specifying that marriage was specifically between a man and a woman.
MPs from both sides of the House have argued that today’s debate, which approached eight hours as Mr Furbert’s motion was put to a vote, has no ramifications on the issue of same-sex marriage, which concerns different wholly legislation.
In an often rancorous debate, Attorney General Mark Pettingill called Mr Furbert’s proposed amendment “convoluted” and “redundant”.
But Shadow AG Kim Wilson warned the House that “we don’t know what would happen” if the same-sex marriage issue was challenged in courts, and urged Government to accept Mr Furbert’s provisions.
She said the public had expressed great concern over the issue, and told her counterpart: “I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the question has been put to every one of us.”
Although most MPs conceded that same-sex marriage was not the topic under debate, Government was challenged to clarify it under Mr Furbert’s amendment.
Dissenting PLP MP Walton Brown said the move to put a “cap on extra rights” was a hypocritical restriction, and Mr Pettingill said at some point civil partnerships might come up for discussion — but to introduce it now would be to mix “apples and oranges”.
“This is just not the right amendment to be applying to the Human Rights Amendment. We must not and we cannot do it,” he said.
The matter was put to vote, with ‘nay’ votes from Government MPs Jeanne Atherden, Kenneth Bascome, Shawn Crockwell, Michael Dunkley, Grant Gibbons, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin, Susan Jackson, Trevor Moniz, Mark Pettingill, Sylvan Richards, Leah Scott, Wayne Scott, Cole Simons, Glen Smith and Jeff Souza; plus PLP MPs Walton Brown, Walter Roban and Michael Scott.
Mr Furbert’s motion was supported by Independent MP Terry Lister, and PLP MPs Marc Bean, Derrick Burgess, David Burt, Rolfe Commissiong, Zane DeSilva, Lovitta Foggo, Wayne Furbert