I'm not even sure this is a debate, or if the two are mutually exclusive, but I've been using a weight belt as a safety measure for my higher weight squats and deadlifts. I've been under the impression that it works to protect the lower back when performing these lifts, and that not using one could lead to some fairly major back issues. Also, recently, I've heard that weight belts are more of a crutch, and one should not become reliant on them for heavier lifts.
I honestly don't know much more than the bro-science behind some of this, so any light that could be shed, I'd appreciate.
Some background, if it helps: I only perform front squats in the 5-10 rep range (back squats put more pressure on my spine than I like). For deadlifts, I'll go up in weight to a 2-3 rep range, but as soon as I feel my back engaging a bit more than I'd like, I drop it. By no means am I a powerlifter, nor ever will I be one.
No history of back issues, and I'd like to keep it that way.