A rainbow flag, the most recognizable symbol used in the LGBT community, was raised at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, Belize. June 23 marked the first time this flag has been flown at an official ceremony in the country. The Embassy grounds are considered American soil, but Belizeans on both sides of the LGBT rights issue took to the streets voice their feelings.
U.S. Ambassador to Belize, Carlos Moreno, invited members of the LGBT to this flag-raising ceremony, commenting: “LGBT rights are human rights, human rights are LGBT rights, there is no distinction, and there is no difference.”
Local church leaders met outside the gates of the embassy to show their opposition, while Belize’s LGBT attendees voiced their enthusiastic support.
Members of the LGBT community have also made challenges to certain sections of the Belizean criminal code, which restrict homosexual activity and technically denies homosexuals the right to enter the country. While these laws are not generally enforced—and Belize is home to many happy LGBT residents, both local and expat—the antiquated rules exist nonetheless.
The case is still pending, but same-sex couples are optimistic the decision will be in their favor. The LGBT community already feels the national attention this case has drawn is a victory in itself.