In separate press releases sent out this week, the Belize Council of Churches and the Belize/Honduras District of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas have made clear their position on the court challenge by homosexuals and other organizations to homosexuality laws in Belize.
They join a stand already taken earlier by Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Dorick Wright; Anglican Bishop Philip Wright, and Reverend Eugene Crawford, president of the Evangelicals.
The case of Caleb Orozco and the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) against the Attorney General of Belize challenges the constitutionality of Section 53 of the Criminal Code, Chapter 101 of the Laws of Belize, which prescribes ten years imprisonment for what is defined as an “unnatural crime,” that is, “…carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal….”
Amandala has learned that the hearing of the case itself has been pushed back to a date in December of this year. Senior counsels Lisa Shoman and Godfrey Smith (former Belize Attorney General) and former British Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, QC, represent Orozco, UNIBAM, and other interested parties — the International Commission of Jurists, the Commonwealth Lawyers Association and the Human Dignity Trust.
In May, the Belize Council of Churches, which represents most of the major Christian denominations in the country, and the Belize Association of Evangelical Churches, a local organization representing evangelical Christian churches, recorded their intention to apply to join the case as interested parties. They have retained senior counsels Rodwell Williams and Eamon Courtenay and attorneys Jackie Marshalleck, Christopher Coye and Michel Chebat on their behalf.
According to the release from the Methodists in Belize, the Church has not changed the position it adopted in January of 2004, when at its Annual District Conference it adopted a statement on human sexuality that was communicated to the governments of Belize and Honduras.
That statement declares that the Church “stands committed to the institution of marriage as it has existed between man and woman from the beginning of time. We believe marriage was ordained by God…” and it adds, “Our Conference views with alarm the present trends in other countries to seek to equate same-sex unions with the institution of marriage, and calls upon the Governments of Belize and Honduras to affirm the institution of marriage between man and woman as ordained by God…”
The statement cites two Biblical scriptures: the Gospel of John, chapter 2, verses 1-11, dealing with Jesus of Nazareth’s miracle of turning water into wine at a wedding in Cana, Galilee, (modern-day Israel and Palestine), which the Methodist Church believes is a sanction of marriage by Jesus; and the book of Genesis, chapter 2, verses 21, 22 and 24, which formally articulates the unity of man and woman through marriage.
The Belize Council of Churches’ statement on Tuesday related that at a meeting on Monday, the council adopted the position found in the Bible that God created humans, male and female, to complement each other and that they may reproduce and multiply to fill the world, which two persons of the same gender cannot do naturally, and that homosexual practices are sinful and considered such by God.
It considers the arguments of UNIBAM “on sex and sexuality, their (homosexual) sexual orientation and behavior, their concept of the family and on human reproduction and the promotion of same sex marriage” to be “biblically unfounded and theologically unsound”. In denouncing the claim, it further declares that “the laws of Belize reflect God’s law…”, and it expresses a firm stance against “all changes in the Constitution of Belize that will not promote the sanctity of human sexual relations as established by God.”
In May, Roman Catholic Diocese Bishop Dorick Wright; Anglican Bishop Philip Wright; and Reverend Eugene Crawford, president of the Evangelicals, in a joint statement denounced UNIBAM’s suit as being “heavily influenced by foreign interests who seek to impose a worldview that directly contradicts the supremacy of God as reflected in our laws, challenges our national sovereignty, and threatens our very way of life, not least by targeting our children.” They went on to claim in the statement that in countries which have granted “rights” to homosexual behaviour, activists have expanded these rights to promote homosexuality in schools and society.
(For more, see story “Belize churches join GOB in court battle against homosexuals,” by Adele Ramos, Amandala #2519, Sunday, May 22, 2011, page 1; and “Christian leaders join GOB against homosexual lawsuit”, press release, on page 47 of the same issue.)