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

9/22/2014 Under the Affordable Care Act, More Women Then Ever Have Free Access to Contraception - Two-thirds of American woman now have access to free birth control, thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Guttmacher Institute released a study Thursday showing steep increases in the number of women who were able to take full advantage of the ACA birth control benefit. . . .
 
9/22/2014 Climate Change Activists Take Over Manhattan to Demand Action - An estimated 400,000 people took to the streets of Manhattan over the weekend to demand world leaders take action on climate change. The People's Climate March, which some are calling the single largest call for climate action ever, took place ahead of Tuesday's emergency UN Climate Summit. Joining the march were several labor unions, former Vice President Al Gore, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Norton. . . .
 
9/22/2014 New President and National Unity Government Announced in Afghanistan - The Afghan Independent Election Commission (IEC) announced yesterday that the Afghan people have elected Dr. . . .