Former Liberian first lady pushes anti-gay Bill

Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a Bill for homosexuality to be made a first degree felony, amid raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said on Wednesday.

The Bill submitted by former president Charles Taylor’s ex-wife, now a senator, also seeks to amend laws to prohibit gay marriage.

“No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony,” reads the proposed amendment.

Sodomy is already a criminal offence in the West African country.

George Tengbeh, a senator supporting the Bill, said he hoped it would put an end to months of acrimonious public debate on gay rights.

It aims “to prevent the Parliament from talking about such an issue that is against our tradition and culture,” he said.

Same-sex marriage
The issue has been in the headlines this year as a group of activists in the country began lobbying for a Bill legalising same-sex marriage.

This created a furore in the country whose President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The information ministry released a statement on January 26 saying: “The Liberian government will not allow the legalisation of gay and lesbian activities in Liberia. The president has vowed not to allow such a Bill, and even if the Bill goes before the president she will veto it.”

Gay rights in Africa have been in the spotlight since the US and Britain threatened to condition aid on enhanced rights for homosexuals.

“The first time we heard about it was at the AU summit when the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, appealed to African leaders to endorse gay rights,” Tengbeh said.

“We came up to say that it’s not suitable for us because our tradition does not allow such things to happen,” he said. — AFP

We make it make sense

If this story helped you navigate your world, subscribe to the M&G today for just R30 for the first three months

Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.”

Related stories


Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Latest stories

Mkhwebane would not hear of Gupta links to Estina: witness

The suspended public protector told him she would pleased if the probe into the scam delivered no adverse findings, Reginald Ndou tells inquiry

Editorial: The ANC won’t listen to its own conscience, the...

The party’s top officials seem to have no real inclination to follow through with the integrity commission’s recommendations on corruption

Nxesi: The changing definition of work demands a review of...

The labour minister noted many informal workers had been excluded from the country’s Covid-19 relief scheme

Tazné van Wyk murder accused admits to absconding parole

Moyhdian Pangkaeker evaded the justice system for about four years during which time he twice absconded while on parole. He faces 27 charges, 24 of which he allegedly committed while on parole.

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…