Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

November-05-12

Malawi Suspends Criminalization of Homosexuality as Laws are Debated

In Malawi, a law against homosexuality has been suspended and the police have been ordered to stop arresting gay people pending a decision by parliament as to whether to repeal the law. Repeal of the criminalization of homosexuality will face public debate and a parliamentary vote.

In an explanation of the suspension of the law while it is debated, Attorney General Justice Minister Ralph Kasambara said: "If we continue arresting and prosecuting people based on the said laws and later such laws are found to be unconstitutional it would be an embarrassment to government. It is better to let one criminal get away with it rather than throw a lot of innocent people in jail."

The suspension and legal debate follows the pledge to decriminalize homosexuality made by Malawi's new President, Joyce Banda, upon taking office. Banda is seeking decriminalization in an effort to ensure a more effective fight against HIV/AIDS and also to "normalize relations with development partners including Britain." Western development donors withdrew financial support under the previous president's administration when the country drew international attention in 2009 for its arrest of two men who became the first gay couple to marry in Malawi.

In July, Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa called for the decriminalization of homosexuality everywhere in the world as a necessary step in combating HIV/AIDS. The archbishop argued that increasing acceptance and reducing stigma of homosexuality is a crucial step in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The archbishop said, "I have no doubt that in the future, the laws that criminalize so many forms of human love and commitment will look the way the apartheid laws do to us now--so obviously wrong. Such a terrible waste of human potential."

If homosexuality is successfully decriminalized in Malawi, it would be the first country to do so since 1994. Homosexuality is currently banned 70 countries worldwide, including 36 in Africa.

Media Resources: Reuters 11/05/2012; The Telegraph 11/05/2012; Malawi Today 11/05/2012; Feminist Daily News 07/23/2012


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

12/18/2014 New Jersey is Inching Closer to Mandatory Paid Sick Leave Statewide - The Assembly Budget Committee of the New Jersey state legislature approved a paid sick leave bill Monday by a 6-4 vote. If the bill is passed, New Jersey workers will earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. . . .
 
12/18/2014 American Apparel Hired Its First-Ever Woman Chief Executive to Replace Dov Charney - Six months after retail store American Apparel fired its chief executive and founder Dov Charney, the company has hired retail executive Paula Schneider as a replacement. Schneider, who will become American Apparel's first female chief executive, will take over the position as of January 5. Charney had led American Apparel since 1998 and became well-known from American Apparel's sexist advertising and from several sexual harassment lawsuits and sexual assault accusations against him by former employees. . . .
 
12/16/2014 Federal Lawsuit Challenges the Wisconsin Law That's Putting Pregnant Women in Prison - A federal civil rights lawsuit is being filed on behalf of a Wisconsin woman who was jailed after allegedly using methamphetamines while 14 weeks pregnant. Tamara Loertscher, 30, was jailed after seeking prenatal care at a Mayo Clinic branch in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. . . .