Belize LGBT Laws

Asylum, Immigration, Migration, Refugees Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

The Immigration Act Chapter 156 provides –

Section 5 (1) Subject to section 2 (3), the following persons are prohibited immigrants –

(e) any prostitute or homosexual or any person who may be living on or receiving or may have been living on or receiving the proceeds of prostitution or homosexual behaviour; [L1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

n 12 May 2016, it was reported that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had dismissed an application in its original jurisdiction by Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson against the immigration laws of Belize and Trinidad and Tobago. Tomlinson alleged that the existence of laws purporting to deny homosexuals and prostitutes entry discriminated against him under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas; however the court found that he had no valid reason to assume his rights would not be respected under either state’s law, since he had provided no evidence of same [C2.4], [R2.3].

On 08 May 2014, the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) granted Jamaican Maurice Tomlinson special leave to commence proceedings within 7 days against Trinidad and Tobago and Belize after he claimed that their existing legislations impinged upon his right to free movement, the immigration acts of Trinidad and Tobago and Belize preventing homosexuals from entering [C2.2], [R2.1].

L1.1 Immigration Act Chapter 156 PDF 84.99kb, 01 JAN 01
C2.4 Judgment: Maurice Tomlinson v. The State of Belize and Trinidad & Tobago [2014] CCJ1 (OJ) PDF 484.31kb 10JUN 16
R2.3 BelizeNews: CCJ dismisses Maurice Tomlinson immigration case 10 JUN 16
C2.2 Judgment: Maurice Tomlinson v The State of Belize & The State of Trinidad & Tobago CCJ Application Nos. OA 1 & 2 of 2013 PDF 135.73kb, 08 MAY 14
R2.1 JamaicaObserver: CCJ grants Jamaican homosexual leave to challenge legislation in T&T and Belize 08 MAY 14
Homosexuality, Sodomy Legislation/Cases/References
1. National

On 10 September 2016, Prime Minister Barrow was reported to have signalled that the Government would appeal the Chief Justice’s decision regarding the constitutionality of Section 53 of the Criminal Code, in so far as it extends or expands the definition of sex in the Constitution to include sexual orientation [R1.5].

On 17 August 2016, the Prime Minister Dean Barrow and Attorney General Vanessa Retreage reportedly announced the Government will not appeal a landmark court ruling that found the country’s sodomy law unconstitutional [R1.4].

On 10 August 2016, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin issued his decision in the case against Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code, ruling that the country’s colonial-era sodomy law is unconstitutional [C2.5], [R2.4].


Consensual sex between same-sex couples was unlawful [R1.3].

Criminal Code [CAP. 101]. Part II Particular Crimes.
Title VII Criminal Force to the Person

1. Rape and Like Crimes

Unnatural Crime Section 53

“Every person who has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years”.

2. Assaults

Aggravated assault Section 45

“Every person who commits an unlawful assault of any of the following kinds, namely-
(a) assault upon a person acting as a judicial officer or as a peace officer; or
(b) assault upon a minister of religion acting in the execution of the duties of his office; or
(c) assault upon a person in any court of justice, or assault upon a person in order to prevent him from doing, or on account of his doing or having done, anything as a party, agent, counsel, or witness, in any judicial proceeding; or
(d) assault with a purpose to commit, or in committing or attempting to commit, any other crime; or
(e) assault with any deadly or dangerous instrument or means; or
(f) indecent assault on any person, whether male or female; or
(g) assault upon any male child or any female of such a nature that it cannot in the opinion of the court be adequately punished under section 44, shall be guilty of an aggravated assault and, on conviction thereof, be liable to imprisonment for two years: Provided that in respect of an indecent assault upon a female or an aggravated assault upon any male child or any female, a person convicted under this section shall be liable to imprisonment for three years instead of two years.”

On 03 October 2013, with a decision pending in the case against the Unnatural Crime Section 53 of Belize’s criminal code being brought by Caleb Orozco [C2.3], [R2.2], the government is reportedly preparing to amend the law putting male anal or oral rape on a par with female rape if the gay part of the penal code is axed [R1.1].

2. Courts & Tribunals

On 10 August 2016, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin issued his decision in the case against Section 53 of Belize’s Criminal Code, ruling that the country’s colonial-era sodomy law is unconstitutional [C2.5], [R2.4].

27 April 2012, Justice Michelle Arana allowed UNIBAM president Caleb Orozco to challenge the ‘sodomy’ law as an individual and has also allowed UNIBAM to participate as an interested party in the case as she had already allowed representatives of Christian churches in Belize to be interested parties along side the government of Belize. A hearing is expected to commence on 07 May 2013 [C2.3], [R2.2].

On 24 September 2010, Caleb Orozco, the Executive President of the United Belize Advocacy Movement (UNIBAM) filed for judicial review of the law, contending that the words “any person or” should be removed because they are a violation of his Constitutional right to sexual freedom [C2.3], [R2.1].

R1.5 TheDailyObserver: Government to appeal sections of High Court ruling on sodomy law 10 SEP 16
R1.4 WashingtonBlade: Belize government won’t appeal sodomy law ruling 18 AUG 16
R1.3 ILGA: State-Sponsored Homophobia PDF 382.87kb, May 2008
L1.2 Belize Legal Information Network: Criminal Code Chapter 101 PDF 493.97kb, 05 JAN 01
R1.1 GayStarNews: Belize prepares for gay sex law to be axed 03 OCT 13
C2.5 Judgment: Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General of Belize No. 668 of 2010 PDF 2.27MB 10 AUG 16
R2.4 TheWashingtonBlade: Belize’s top court strikes down sodomy law 10 AUG 16
C2.3 Caleb Orozco v. The Attorney General of Belize Claim No. 668 of 2010 PDF 697.71kb, 27 APR 12
R2.2 GayStarNews: Belize Supreme Court to decide legality of homosexuality in May 09 DEC 12
R2.1 News5: Caleb Orozco and UNIBAM take gay rights to the courts 04 FEB 11