Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Section 53: A case of Adult Privacy and The best liars in religion

9th September, 2016

On August 10th, 2016, the Supreme Court of Belize ruled that section 53 was unconstitutional and read down the offending section to say, "this does not apply to consenting sexual acts between adults in private." Wade, in his disappointment noted in a facebook commentary on August 18th that Cabinet and Caleb was Sodom and Gomorrah. This snapshot on the left reveals exactly what he said while his fundamentalist colleagues revealed  solutions that included a referendum on section 53, a constitutional amendment on marriage, safeguarding the education from LGBT Agenda, among others to correct concerns about the acknowledgement of LGBT rights in Belize.


Furthermore, Wade and Stirm promoted a campaign of deception with the Belize National Teachers, Utilities Union and the leader of the opposition. As a result, the Utilities Union issued a Press Release on September 8th, calling on the government to,.." mount an appeal, against the sections within the judgement which express issues of our freedom of expression, and the meaning of gender to include sexual orientation." If they had spent anytime reading the judgement, they would have known that the term to be challenged was sex not gender. Still they call for peace and no discrimination. The release further spoke to, " ensuring democracy prevails" and calls for members, "to take active measure to support the churches in our country.

With regards to the Belize National Teacher Union, they issued a press release as well. Except, upon further investigation, it was the PR department of the Union which issued the release without any consultation from teachers, expressing concern, "..for the sake of our children and the nation, we urge that this request as a matter of national importance." How a case about adult privacy jumped to safeguarding children in education is a comprehension process that must be explained. Amazingly, the release spoke of," to ensure that this matter, is thoroughly ventilated."  The ventilation seem to be to ensure bigotry and and fearmongering prevails, as an invitation was never extended to the United Belize Advocacy Movement to explain the judgement.

In a bid to promote understanding of section 53, the Prime Minister of Belize very succinctly on August 26th in the house explained unnatural crime, when he said, "...the order of nature has been interpreted to mean a range of things...when I was a criminal lawyer .. against the order of nature included as well oral sex."  Alluding to the point that all Belizeans were unapprehended felons and that section 53 was about adult privacy. For daring to stand up for my constitutional rights and challenge the entitlement of  Right-Wing fundamentalists groups like National Evangelical Association of Churches in Belize, COLA and Leaders Alliance sought to organized two protest. On August 23rd, 2016. Fundamentalist organized a protest in Belmopan infront of the National Assembly as well as August 26th, 2016.

This writer have to say, the best liars in the faith-base business, is Scott Stirm and Louis Wade. For immediately after that decision, Wade  reported that UniBAM received $3.4m 24 hours after the section 53 decision. Never mind, it was money for the National HIV response. Further more, Stirm, an American by birth, reveals that in point 2 that section 53 is to safeguard children. Never mind, he opposed the amendments to the criminal code that sought to protect children. Louis goes even further and reveals in his post that the CJ has no power, that the CJ rewrote the constitution and interpret the constitution outside its "normal meaning.". No mentioned of state international obligations, no mentioned of the power of the Judicary to read down laws. His facebook points are revealed at the right hand corner of this post and bottom center.

Of note, Scott Stirm is not the only Pastor advocating against LGBT issues in Belize. Meet American Pastor Dennis Ten Kley who was interviewed by channel 5 and he had this to say,"I pray that my daughter will accept Jesus soon or sometime because we’re coming to the end of time and I don’t want to see her go to hell and that’s what’s going to happen to all the homosexuals.  It’s in the Bible, it’s in Galatians and Corinthians all over.  If those people would realize and I just, my daughter won’t let me talk to her much so I can’t, yeah, it’s very hard.”With the exception of Eugene Crawford, a Belizean, the Belize Prayer Network reveals other  Americans supporting the propaganda of the right wing in Belize.

 On September 9th, the perfect storm of factors came together that allowed the Prime Minister go back on his word not to appeal? In simply terms, The PM announcement that government, will not appeal; two right-wing Evangelical led protests, one on August 23 and one on Augusts 26th that was complimented with campaign of mis-education of the Unions and the general public; add in, the silence of civil society and a government riddled with scandal. It becomes a perfect storm of pressure to advance marginalisation of Belizean LGBT rights, more importantly, citizens’ rights. One can argue, we may have won section 53, but lost on civil right matters.   A point made clearer when Pastor Lewis said, "We thought that the cabinet would have accepted the removal of the gender policy, but they said no to that according to what the Prime Minister said, but now this will come under the commission for public morality." As a result, A morality Commission was formed, the reason, “government believes, it's a shared position of all of us that marriage is between a man and a woman. The whole question of how to protect family values in an inclusive society."

The importance of section 53 to religious leaders is not sexual acts that consenting adults do in private, but the idea that the systems of marginalisation and oppression that they felt entitled for generations was challenged. More importantly, right wing fundamentalists- the NEAB, the Catholic Church along with Anglicans, discovered that section 53 was about challenging their automatic sense of entitlement in the system to undermine LGBT rights, was no longer automatic.  Moreover, losing at first instance made them realise that the era of absolute entitlement is over. The challenge to sex is only a small indication that they collectively are struggling with the notion of rights protection and enforcement concerns of LGBT person.  Government itself is struggling with the notion, as well, for while it walked back on its word of not appealing, it did say, it will not seek to appeal the whole of section 53 a Constructive response to prevent it utter collapse.

The clock is ticking on all this, as September 16th is the deadline for government to push forward filing for partial appeal which will give standing to the Catholic Church to submit its document to the court. Round two arrives to Belize’s Court of Appeal, whether the PM of Belize believe that the right wing fundamentalists thinkers will be appease at the end of all court hearings will be discovered in time. We I do know, is that Belize has never been the same since September 9th, as right-wing fundamentalists were finally let in to governance, to what can be interpreted as the fourth branch of government. Only the future holds, to see if it will collapse under its own weight,


Morality Commission:

Partial Appeal

1 comment:

  1. This is a great post and the responses are outstanding. I would love to add new insight but everyone has done such a great job.

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