Belize's highest court on Wednesday struck down the tiny nation's anti-sodomy laws, making it the first Caribbean nation to do so.

The country's Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional Section 53 of its Criminal Code, which banned “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” widely interpreted to mean sodomy between two men or between a man and woman, regardless of consent. Thought seldom enforced, the law stipulated a ten-year prison sentence for offenders.

LGBT rights advocate Caleb Orozco challenged the law in 2010 and his case was heard three years later.

“This is the first day of my life in which it is legal for me to be me,” said Orozco, the executive director of the United Belize Advocacy Movement. “This is a history-making judgment for Belize, the country which I am proud to call home. Our judicial system has been proven to be robust and unprejudiced. This judgment should give other oppressed groups the confidence to speak up and stand up for themselves in situations of human rights abuse in the way I have. Our courts really are there to protect us all. In striking down Section 53, Belize has also rejected a poisonous remnant of colonial rule. Instead we have reaffirmed ourselves as a society built on dignity and respect for all our people. This is a proud day.”

LGBT rights advocates in the United States applauded the news.

“This is a momentous victory for Belize, and I congratulate the LGBTQ advocates of Belize, as well as the countless legal experts and supporters who fought for this win,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “While Belize is the third country to decriminalize same-sex intimate relationships this year, advocates and attorneys from India to Kenya are diligently working on decriminalization efforts in the 72 countries where such laws remain.”