I decided to post this as a comment on the turbulent times of the Charter of Rights Bill Debate in the 2006 period with the varying positions mostly anti gay as it related to including sexual orientation as a form of discrimination.
Senator at the time Trevor Munroe was one of the more sensible voices in the mix who spoke frankly about the stupidity of this old colonial law still on our books. Given also the furore in Antigua and Barbuda on the Buggery Law there on the strength of the challenge in Belize by advocates there.
also see: Anti-Buggery Law Here To Stay
This article however appeared in the Gleaner on July 9, 2006
Buggery law backward - Munroe
Dionne Rose, Parliamentary Reporter
THE JOINT Select Committee of Parliament considering the proposed Charter of Rights Bill failed to conclude its deliberations last week as the committee was unable to find common ground on certain issues.
One such contentious issue was whether the committee should accept the recommendations of the 2001 Joint Select Committee, which had recommended that the Government should consider repealing the buggery law.
Committee member, Professor Trevor Munroe, had insisted that recommendation should be carried forward by the current committee so that the matter could be debated in Parliament.
"... I regard that (the law) as a backward and retrogressive step consistent with when the law was passed in the middle of 19th century," he said.
However, committee members Senator Anthony Johnson, Delroy Chuck and others, had a different view and said that the discussion was not for the consideration of the committee.
"... People in this country don't want to see homosexuality decriminalised. We have agreed on that. We are dealing with serious matters and the committee has decided that we (are) not into that!" said Senator Johnson.
NOT A COMMITTEE MATTER
Meanwhile, Mr. Chuck said that this matter was not for the committee.
"In any event, Mr. Chairman, I don't think we could deal with that here because it is on the statue books ... If anything has to be done about it, is it the statute that will have to deal with it," contended Senator Dorothy Lightbourne.
There was also dissension on whether the Charter of Rights Bill should have a special provision to protect the rights of the disabled person with committee member, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange insisting that this should be included.
But Senator A.J. Nicholson, chairman of the committee, explained that the body had already discussed and agreed that it would be impractical to place these matters in the Constitution.
The committee, however, covered some ground as they signed off on a recommendation brought by the Lawyers' Christian Fellowship, which wanted the right to freedom of religion in Section 13 (b) of the document to be separated.
But Nicholson said the committee would go beyond that.
"We are doing better for them. We are moving religion totally out of that and putting it by itself so that the citizens of the country can know the importance we place on these things, for example religion," he said.
The committee also accepted a submission from the group to prevent same-sex marriages by defining the word 'marriage' in the bill.
The committee will again meet on July 19 when it is expected that it will finalise its deliberations.