A court in Malawi found a gay couple guilty of "unnatural acts" and "gross indecency" yesterday and will sentence the couple tomorrow. Steven Mojenza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, could face up to 14 years of hard labor. The couple were arrested at their home in December 2009 the day after celebrating their engagement with a party at a hotel, according to the Associated Press.
The couple has received international support from gay rights activists though many in Malawi are reportedly in support of the verdict. British activist Peter Tatchell told CNN, "While Steven and Tiwonge freely confirmed their love for each other, there was no credible evidence that they had committed any illegal homosexual acts...With so much hatred and violence in the world, it is bizarre that any court would criminalise two people for loving each other." Tatchell also reportedly has received messages from both imprisoned men. Chimbalanga reportedly wrote, "I love Steven so much. If people or the world cannot give me the chance and freedom to continue living with him as my lover, then I am better off to die here in prison. Freedom without him is useless and meaningless." Monjeza said, We have come a long way and even if our family relatives are not happy, I will never stop loving Tiwonge," reported the Guardian UK.
Homosexuality is currently illegal in 37 African countries and legal only in South Africa. Currently in Uganda, the Parliament is still considering legislation that, in its original form, would have imposed life imprisonment as the minimum sentence for being gay and would have allowed for the death penalty.
Media Resources: Associated Press 5/18/10; Guardian UK 5/14/10; CNN 5/18/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 12/9/09
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .