Blue Iguana writes: Bravo, Belize! Once again, love has quashed hate. As is the case in a landmark ruling adjudged by the Supreme Court of Belize that found it was unconstitutional to uphold laws criminalising sexual relations between consensual males. Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin stated that he “could not make a decision based on majority and public views”, according to Breaking News Belize.
Despite boldly acting in discordance with the mainstream opinion, the decision will now ultimately nullify any pre-existing legislation that strictly prohibits same-sex sexual activity. Additionally, it will serve to defend citizens from discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
In any democracy, for example, Cayman, the aligned viewpoint of the majority trumps that of the minority; however, from an ethical standpoint, when the popular opinion promotes oppression, marginalisation and stigmatisation of an extremely vulnerable segment of society it undermines any meaningfulness associated with our people being “Caymankind”.
The unlawfulness of homosexual acts is prevalent in the majority of our regional neighbouring territories. With the exception of the Dutch and French Caribbean, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, equal rights are not currently afforded constitutionally to those who identify as homosexual.
Such illegality is absolutely absurd, archaic and antiquated beyond fathomable proportions – especially as it constitutes an infringement on the human rights of consenting adults.
Public opponents of LGBTs receiving the same universal rights often misperceive that it’s an “attack” on the moral and spiritual values of the community.
Not in the slightest – and the proof can be found northward.
That’s right – Cuba.
Our communist neighbour is a predominantly religious island. In 2010, census data revealed that over seventy percent of Cubans have a religious belief, with approximately sixty percent identifying as an adherent of the Roman Catholic denomination.
Neither same-sex marriage nor recognition of same-sex unions are enshrined in law.
(Wow! Doesn’t that sound familiar, MLAs?)
Notwithstanding this fact, the Cuban government has managed to implement various social reforms that protect and legally sanction homosexuals the liberty to be free from discrimination.
It doesn’t end there – it gets even more progressive. There’s no doubt you’ve heard of the politically iconic Castro family that governs the island.
Mariela Castro, the daughter of President Raul Castro, is responsible for introducing transgender rights. As Director of the Cuban National Centre for Sex Education, she constantly campaigned publicly for LGBT rights and compassionately utilised her family’s political influence to induce equality for all.
While her efforts gained little traction eleven years ago, a few years later in 2008 the government ratified a measure allowing any Cuban the opportunity to undergo a gender reassignment surgery – free of charge.
Our communist neighbour showed us that religion and gay rights can co-exist in the Caribbean, despite the widespread religiousness and spirituality. Belize showed us that their judiciary is capable of extending love, compassion and legal protection to those who are most vulnerable and victimised.
Equating the acceptance and assimilation of LGBTs to an “attack” on our islands’ social fabric is narrow-minded and only adds to the divisive rhetoric we incessantly hear on a daily basis. When the views of the majority that seek to oppress the minority are upheld – that is not democracy; it is a regressive step back towards colonialism.