Malawi President Faces Opposition in Efforts to Repeal Antigay Laws

BY Editors

May 22 2012 3:26 PM ET

Malawi's new president is facing stiff opposition to her recent pledge to repeal national laws that criminalize homosexuality, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

In a speech to parliament last week, President Joyce Banda, who earlier this month succeeded President Bingu wa Mutharika following his April 5 death, said that so-called "unnatural acts" laws were unjust and had strained diplomatic relationships.

But the Monitor reports that some prominent religious figures have come out against Banda on the issue:

Among the strongest views come from Malawi's powerful evangelical community. Billy Mayaya of the Church and Society, a social and development wing of the Church of the Central Africa Presbyterian [CCAP] of Nkhoma Synod in Lilongwe, says that President Banda should consult with citizens before making such a drastic change in Malawian law.

“There is need for proper consultation before the law if referred back to the Malawi Law Society and then Parliament, says Mr. Mayaya. "Malawians need to be consulted. Over the years, the church has also made its stand on this sticky issue very clear. I feel Malawians have the right to discuss what constitutes different sexual orientations before a law is put in place.”

Read the full article here.

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