Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced last week that the Government will be filing an appeal to the Supreme Court-ruling on Section 53 of the Criminal Code which is in favour of the pro-LGBT appellants. The PM indicated that they would challenge Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin’s interpretation of the word “sex” which was declared as meaning “sexual orientation”.
The appeal will allow the Catholic Church to join as an interested party and present their own case against the ruling. We know from a press briefing held last Friday that the Anglican, Methodist and Evangelical Churches will also join in the appeal. Sounds like UNITY right? Well, not fully. While the Catholic Church will be appealing the entire ruling, the Anglican and Methodist Churches are only interested on a limited appeal which the Government will pursue.
That is not the only issue separating the Churches and where they stand, however. At the press briefing last Friday, the Church leaders declared which of them still have issues with the HFLE teachings and the Gender Policy.
Bishop Phillip Wright, Anglican Church
“We continue to have an interest in the expansion of sex to be or to include sexual orientation because of again the implication we suspect that could have for other matters in the society even in the marriage act and perhaps even in the curriculum that might end up in certain schools.”
Bishop Roosevelt Papaloute, Methodist Church
“In relations to the gender policy we still support on the work that we are agreed on in this very room that we are meeting here today, we are not against if there is need for other vision, we are human being we can always think differently and see changes that are made and needs to be made but we are not supporting a complete withdrawal of the chairperson and that is the position under this church.”
Pastor Lance Lewis, President, National Evangelical Assoc. of Belize
“The other aspect was the matter of the gender policy, we thought that he Cabinet would have accepted the removal of the gender policy but they say not to that according to what the Prime Minister said but now this will come under the Commission for Public Morality and we are glad for that because we see that although it would not be thrown out yet there will be areas that we can correct that we can put more in line with what we’ve always asked for.”
Patrick Menzies, President, Alliance of Ministers and Leaders
“We’ve got to the point where we if some of the conditions that we have set forth which included resending and fixing the gender policy then we launching it; it included fixing the HFLE manual and then putting back in the school , it included constitutionalizing sex as being male or female only because of the fact that the previous Prime Minister Musa put gender in the constitution we also wanted that to be looked at as being decided to mean male or female in accordance to the way you were born physiologically and also constitutionalizing marriage between and man and a woman.”
Back in 2012, the Ministry of Education had come under fire for including a controversial Health and Family Life Education manual and curriculum in schools. The Manual was eventually removed, but the curriculum wasn’t. And then in 2013, an equally controversial Gender Policy was adopted by the Government despite heavy opposition.
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