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Gay sex is no longer illegal in Belize

The tiny Central American nation's supreme court ruled that the part of the criminal code that outlaws gay sex is unconstitutional.

by Jo Tuckman
Aug 11 2016, 1:58pm

Foto di Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP Images

Belize's supreme court has ruled to decriminalize gay sex in the tiny Central American nation.

The court ruled on Wednesday that the part of the criminal code that sets a 10-year sentence for convictions for "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" is unconstitutional.

It is now up to the local parliament to reform the code to reflect the ruling.

Leading Belizean gay rights activist Caleb Orozco for the United Belize Advocacy Movement launched the legal challenge to the code in 2013.

"This is the first day of my life in which it is legal for me to be me," Orozco said in a statement. "This is a history-making judgment for Belize, the country which I am proud to call home."

Activists around the world took to Twitter to describe Orozco as a hero in the wake of the decision.

Earlier this year the local movement in favor of decriminalization had already gained the apparent backing of the US Embassy that raised a rainbow flag for LGBTQ Pride Month.

Belize is the third country to decriminalize same-sex sexual activity this year, along with the islands of Nauru and Seychelles, according to the US-based Human Rights Campaign. The group says it remains outlawed in 72 countries, most of which are former British colonies.

Not everyone was happy with the decision.

The president of the National Evangelical Association of Belize, Pastor Lance Lewis, reportedly called the ruling an "abomination."

Pastor Lewis went on to describe last week's Hurricane Earl, which caused major damage to the Belizean island of San Pedro, as an act of God related to the court's decision.

He said the church "that has been sleeping," will now have to "wake up and get militant," and "stand up for the things of God."


Follow Jo Tuckman on Twitter: @jotuckman

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