Allowing same-sex marriage should be seen as a progression of civil rights. It should be of distant secondary importance that homosexual acts are not illegal in this country and social attitudes are tolerant of cohabiting same-sex couples.
On that note, although Malawi’s new President, Joyce Banda is not proposing same-sex marriage, her vow to repeal laws which ban homosexual acts should be seen as a progression of rights which bucks the trend of virulent gay-hatred across the region.
Whilst such a move would require a parliamentary vote, her United Democratic Front party commands a majority. Furthemore – and readers may correct me – attitudes towards gays in Malawi appears more convivial than elsewhere. Admittedly, in May 2010, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza were convicted and sentenced to 14 years hard labour for pursuing a marriage ceremony, less than a fortnight later, Banda’s predecessor pardoned both men.
This decision may not have been entirely virtuous, as considerable international pressure and threats of denial of aid budgets had been brought to bear even though, as SarahAB discussed, some African countries would be prepared to forego aid if it meant repealing anti-gay legislation.
Hat-tip Alex Ross in the comments.
On a related topic, in response to John Pilger’s analysis on ABC.net of Obama’s support for same-sex marriage, Rodney Croome of Australian Marriage Equality campaign asks why Pilger is a complete and utter hate-riven anti-human nutter who now appears to be peddling the notion that Hollywood is in the grip of ‘homosexualists’ and a pink mafia.