Last week, a gay couple was sentenced to 14 years of prison for having an engagement party in Malawi. One of the things the judge mentioned in his ruling was that “he was especially offended that the two lovers celebrated their relationship in public.”
It’s not news that gay marriage or the simple act of being gay (and acting on it) isn’t legal in some countries, but when you actually see that two people have been sent to jail for wanting to make a life together, it scares me and should scare you as well. Currently, there are about 80 countries that have anti-homosexual laws.
This sentence violates this couple’s human rights. When people from Malawi (mainly officials) dare to say that this conflicts with their culture, we ought to look closer at what culture means and how we’re destroying lives using this reasoning. Culture is supposed to bring societies together, not break them apart. A person willing to love shouldn’t be put away to jail. More importantly, a country like Malawi that is currently struggling with AIDS, should rather concentrate in this and other pressing issues, as opposed to forbidding a couple to express their love for each other. A government is supposed to protect its individuals, not attack them.
Perhaps this couple is suffering now but they may have opened a door to discuss this issue in a country like Malawi. Maybe also bring awareness so we keep an eye on these countries where progress towards equality hasn’t even started yet.