Liberian Senate Passes Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage
The Liberian Senate this week passed an amendment to the state’s constitution that would ban same-sex marriages.
The amendment was made to section 2.3 of the constitution, which bans marriage between people who are already wedded to others and between close family members.
It adds “or persons of the same sex” to the text, as read by the chairman of the judiciary committee Joseph Nagbe.
“My bill seeks to ensure that the fact that people of the same sex under our law should not be allowed to get married,” Taylor said.
Homosexuality in Liberia is criminalized under anti-sodomy provisions, though they are rarely fully enforced, but the issue of same-sex marriage has not been explicitly addressed in the state’s constitution.
The measure seems a direct response to local gay rights groups demanding same-sex marriage provisions among other nondiscrimination laws.
A second bill that would make same-sex relations a capital offense, currently before the House of Representatives and dubbed a sister to the Ugandan ‘Kill the Gays’ bill, has yet to be moved.
Both bills have received strong backing from the country’s religious conservatives. However, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has stated that she would use her veto power to block any such bills, whether pro-gay or anti-gay. She maintains that Liberia’s current stance on homosexuality is sufficient.
As a Nobel peace prize recipient, Sirleaf’s defense of her country’s anti-gay stance has angered some.
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