Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe used a speech at his 88th birthday party to attack the West and its promotion of equal rights for gays.
He appeared to add that his dog would be offended were it to be compared with British Prime Minister David Cameron following his support for gay marriage.
Mugabe was described by state media as “his usual energetic self” when he delivered the homophobic speech at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on Feb. 25.
He told the reported 20,000 attendees: “We reject [gay marriage] outright and say to hell with you. You, David Cameron, are you suggesting that you don’t know that or is it some kind of insanity or part of the culture of Europeans. In their newspapers, that’s one of my sins. That I called [gays] worse than pigs and dogs because pigs know there are males and females. I won’t even call him a dog because my own dog will complain and say, but what have I done? It’s even in the Bible that you procreate through the system of marrying. That’s how we were born, so we reject that outright and say, to hell with you. You are free as a man to marry a woman and that is what we follow. That’s what produced you and me. This kind of insanity is now part of the culture.”
Liberia considers antigay bill
The Liberian senate is reported to be considering a bill that would increase the penalties against gay people in the West African state.
Even if it were approved, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf would not sign the bill, which would make gay sexual relations a first-degree felony.
There are conflicting reports of what sanctions the “offense” would attract.
Jewel Howard-Taylor, ex-wife of former president Charles Taylor, tabled the bill in her new capacity as senator.
“We are only strengthening the existing law. Some media are reporting that I said anyone found guilty of involvement in same-sex [acts] should face the death penalty,” she said. “I did not say so. I am calling for a law that will make it a first-degree felony.”
A representative for Howard-Taylor confirmed that the first-degree felony would attract punishment of one year to life imprisonment and the death penalty on the judge’s discretion in “extreme cases.”
The bill’s proposed amendment reads: “No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first-degree felony.”
According to a 2008 ILGA report, gay sex acts are currently classified as first-degree misdemeanors in Liberia, punishable by up to one year in prison.
Antigay Australian PM hosts gays
Prime Minister Julia Gillard, an opponent of same sex-marriage, hosted a dinner for two lesbian couples and a pair of gay men Feb. 21 after an Australian activist group won a charity auction.
The couples used the three-course meal at Gillard’s official residence in the national capital of Canberra to lobby the prime minister to allow gay marriage.
Twelve-year-old Matthew Miller presented Gillard with flowers and two letters explaining why he and his brother Dylan, 9, would like their biological mother Sandy Miller to marry their other mother, Louise Bucke.
“Since they’re not allowed to get married, they’re basically being called not normal and we’re not known as a proper family,” Matthew said at Parliament House before the dinner, which the boys did not attend.
Along with Miller and Bucke, other guests were Brisbane academic Sharon Dane, 54, who married Elaine Crump, 53, in Canada in a ceremony that is not recognized in Australia.
Steve Russell, 51, and John Dini, 29, decided against marrying overseas because it would carry no weight in Australia. While they could have a civil union recognized under state law in their hometown of Melbourne, they don’t regard that as equal to marriage.
The activist group GetUp! paid $33,270 for the dinner when they won a bidding war against a Christian lobby group at the Press Gallery of Australia annual charity ball in June last year.
Gillard’s Labor Party lifted its long-standing opposition to gay marriage in December, and three bills have been introduced to Parliament to change the Australian law that states that only a man and woman can marry.
But Gillard personally remains opposed to gay marriage, and it is unclear whether any bill would attract enough support to make same-sex marriages legal. No date for votes in Parliament have been set
Indian ministers rebuked for conflicting gay views
Supreme Court judges hearing the case for reintroducing a ban on gay sex in India have warned the government about making contradictory statements about homosexuality.
Judges told ministers not to “make a mockery of the system” after officials appearing in the court seemed at odds over whether gay sex should be illegal.
Additional Solicitor General Mohan Jain appeared for the Indian government’s Health Ministry Feb. 28 and told the court they were in favor of decriminalization.
Recently, Additional Solicitor General PP Malhotra appeared for the Home Ministry and told the court gay sex was unnatural.
In an apparently inaccurate statement of the government’s position, he said: “Gay sex is highly immoral and against social order and there is high chance of spreading of diseases through such acts. Our Constitution is different and our moral and social values are also different from other countries, so we cannot follow them.”
The Home Ministry almost immediately distanced itself from Malhotra’s comments, saying it had not taken a stance on homosexuality and was not intending to back criminalization of gay acts.
India’s courts struck down the dormant antigay law in 2009. Opponents have pursued the case to the Supreme Court, whom they hope will reintroduce the law.
— compiled by Larry Nichols