The senate in Liberia voted unanimously last week to approve a constitutional amendment banning same-sex couples from getting married.
"Voluntary sodomy" is already considered criminal in Liberia, but gay marriage rights had not previously been addressed by law. A second bill before the House of Representatives could make sexual relations between people of the same sex into a first-degree felony.
The amendment may not necessarily pass, though, as Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has the final say, and previously said she would veto any bills relating to homosexuality, whether they were for or against. Some background:
The legislation comes after an acrimonious public debate on gay rights after a group of activists earlier this year began lobbying for a bill legalising same-sex marriage.
The leaders of the Movement in Defence of Gay and Lesbian Rights — none of them gay themselves — were mobbed and had to be rescued by police when they tried to campaign at a university campus.
This created a furore in the country and posed a thorny issue for Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has approached the issue of gay rights uncomfortably.
She defended her country’s stance in an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper in March saying: “We like ourselves the way we are.”
Not good, not good, not good.