The Belize Supreme Court today made a historic ruling in favor of gay activist Caleb Orozco, and has struck down the country’s anti-sodomy law. This is the first case launched in the Caribbean and the first case where the sodomy laws have been overturned. Sodomy laws are widespread in the Caribbean and Central America thanks to British colonization, but this case paves the way for other countrie to follow suit.
The case was brought to court in 2010, heard in 2013 and the ruling came today, August 10, 2016. The long process has been spearheaded by Caribbean allies, activists, advocates, academics, and legal experts.
Orozco challenged the law claiming that it infringes on the ‘Protections of the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms’ of the individual guaranteed by the country’s constitution.
Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin, presiding over the court, accepted Orozco’s challenges on all counts, including:
- The law is a violation of the rights to dignity, privacy, equality and non-discrimination on grounds of sex;
- There is no public morality justification;
- International legal obligations must be complied with;
- The law must be modified;
- The costs were awarded to the claimant;
For more info on just how hard this fight was fought by Caleb Orozco, read the New York Times profile here.