Friday, August 12, 2016

Belize's Suprem Court strikes down sodomy law

Belize's Supreme Court ruled that a law punishing homosexuality is unconstitutional. It has had the law in place since its days as a British colony. 

Under the previous law, homosexual citizens in Belize could face a penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment for having "carnal intercourse". In fact, Section 53 stated: "Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for 10 years". 

Now, the chief justice of Belize, Kenneth Benjamin, has found that section 53 of the criminal code is unconstitutional and must be removed.

The Bahamas removed the same law when it broke away from Britain, but many former British colonies in the Caribbean still have anti-sodomy laws in place from the days when the English controlled the territories. 

LGBT advocates are hoping the fact that this law has been struck down will encourage other Caribbean countries to do the same. Precisely, one of those countries where a similar battle is happening is Jamaica, where attorney Maurice Tomlinson brought suit against that country's law that also criminalizes homosexuality.

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