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Mixed reactions over Malawi's plan to repeal anti-gay law

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Evangelical perspective

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.”

The Nkhoma Synod, in a pastoral letter, wrote that the Bible condemns homosexuality.

“It is biblically and culturally an evil that dehumanizes people and provokes God’s wrath," the Synod's pastoral letter reads. "We advise our members to categorically refrain from such a practice and advocate its termination from our society. We stand in solidarity with the majority of Malawians who equally condemn the practice of homosexuality.” 

The opposition party, People’s Transformation [Petra] party says that decriminalizing homosexuality would be a "grave mistake." "We therefore urge Members of Parliament, faith leaders, Christians, and Muslims to resist any intention directly or indirectly to legalize same sex marriages,” says Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo, in Blantyre, Malawi’s second largest city.

Malawi's erstwhile donors, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement by Banda.

Speaking last Thursday during Norway’s Constitutional Day in Lilongwe, Norway's ambassador to Malawi, Asbjorn Eidhammer, said that all governments bear the responsibility to protect people who are different from the majority, both from prosecution and from persecution.

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