The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

SPLC Report: U.S. Groups Fan Anti-LGBT Hate in Caribbean

By Booth Gunter on July 25, 2013 - 2:25 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

Caleb Orozco is a gay man in the tiny Caribbean country of Belize who is bringing an important legal challenge to a criminal statute that can land people in prison for 10 years for having gay sex.

He has been threatened. He has been physically assaulted. Now, he fears for his life. “I cannot walk the streets among a crowd anymore,” he said.

Attitudes in Belize have changed in recent times, Orozco said, and those changes can be traced to the involvement of U.S.-based religious-right groups that are providing legal expertise to the anti-LGBT forces in Belize and, at the same time, fomenting hate by spreading the same kind of false, demonizing propaganda they have developed in the U.S.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, publisher of Hatewatch, has today released an in-depth report on the situation in Belize and on six anti-gay groups that are spreading hate abroad. You can read the report here.

“The people who are riling things up or speaking up the loudest are the evangelicals,” Orozco said.

Before the arrival of the anti-gay groups, most people “had a live-and-let-live attitude toward gays,” he said, adding that the “controversy really gave people permission to express their hate in a way they didn’t see they had permission to do before.”

The situation is similar to Uganda, where a battle over the criminalization of LGBT sex has been raging for years. In 2010, a newspaper there published front-page photos and the home addresses of gay men under the headline “Hang Them.” Twenty-three days later, an LGBT activist on the list was murdered in his home.

“These American groups are clearly fanning the flames of anti-gay hatred,” said Heidi Beirich, author of the report and director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.

“They need to explain how their stated goals of protecting religious liberty and marriage means bringing the full weight of the criminal law down on LGBT people.”

  • April Schneider

    Organized religion breeds violent self-righteous political hate. Remove their tax free status and they will fall.

  • Linnea

    Good question, Erika!

  • Erika

    If the religious right in this country suceeds in banning homosexual sex in the Caribbean, where would they go to “allegedly” engage in sex tourism with underaged boys?

  • AB

    Pastor of hate and homophobia,Scott Lively, Springfield, MA, spreading ignorance, fear-mongering, and pushing anti-gay laws everywhere needs to be exposed for the monster he is and the harm he, his idiot followers, and others are doing. These laws are the last gasp as glbtqi rights increase in more informed places. They must be fought wherever they erupt, eg Russia. Boycott Russian vodka and other products, the Russian Olympics, and its’ sponsors.

  • Rayn Roberts

    The Religious Right in the US have lost their battle against LGBT people at home; so they’re trying to export their hatred aboard. Talk about sick and pathetic. I hope Caleb Orozco stays safe and unharmed.

  • http://SPLC steve a

    The Evangelical movement is nothing but a gang of violent, lying hypocrites who will stop at nothing to further their anti-gay agenda. They may be small in numbers, but they are very well financed. Their hatred of LGBT movement is particularly vehement and well publicized in my part of the country. Yes, in deed, they are quite open and above board in making their hatred of gays known through radio and newspaper venues.
    Evangelicals will stop at nothing to promote their hateful agenda because; “god” is on their side, don’t you know?

  • Kiwiwriter

    Very unpleasant stuff.

    I hope Belize takes the high road.

  • TiredOne

    Wow, I’m not typically a name-caller, but this Alliance Defending Fairytales is quite out-of-touch. Please feel free to review their Leadership team at http://www.alliancedefendingfr.....leadership

    If I may judge a book by its cover, these folks are, by no means, representative of the good ol’ US, let alone Belize. They do, however, represent a shrinking demographic that, in its decline, is becoming more and more frightened, more and more vocal.

    ADF folks, it’s OK for you to be you. ADF folks, it’s OK for others to be others.

    By the way, even as an athiest, I don’t wish to discount these persons’ faith. My Fairytale comment is directed toward these particular persons’ apparent need to impose their peculiar and intolerent “thou shalt nots” on others in the form of lawful punishment – and, especially so, where the legal systems themselves are not aligned with the ADF world-view.

  • Linnea

    Just finished reading the report. Sad and scary stuff. Thanks for continuing to shine a light where it’s most needed.

  • aadila

    It’s depressing to see this happen to Belize, which has a lot going for it and remains influential in Central America. It wasn’t mentioned in the article but one of the reasons why Belize is going this way is because of the religious ties maintained by the public school system for so long. This is particularly troublesome for women, who show some of the most distorted social statistics (vis-a-vis men) of any country in Latin America, but obviously the expectation of compulsory heterosexuality is another aspect. I point to the school system because in terms of religious freedom per se, Belize is more diverse and tolerant than some of its neighbors. It is an interesting juxtaposition of values.

    Hopefully Belize will recognize that if it wishes to retain its prestige and regional influence it will need to adopt principles more in line with the culturally prosperous and progressive nations of the region. Another observation is that political meddling by foreign special interests is probably the number one threat to Latin American sovereignty. Smaller states, with unique demographic and economic challenges — including in Belize’s case soaring energy costs, which always creates political volatility — are particularly vulnerable to foreign political interference.

  • Sam Molloy

    Belize is being advertised on TV as an English speaking, tropical paradise with very reasonable real estate prices. I’m guessing I won’t be retiring there anytime soon, but I would contribute to a fund to send ALL our super religious psychos there.

  • Aron

    ‘Hate the sin’ they claim. ‘Love the sinner.’

    Balderdash. And not even the fun board game kind.

  • Roger B.

    Ah yes. The Christian Taliban at your service. Spreading the hatred world wide.