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25 Nov 2016

Malawi To Consult Public Over Anti-Gay Laws

Malawi is to hold public consultations to assess whether to reform colonial-era laws that ban homosexuality, the government said today, AFP news agency reports.

The southern African nation was the focus of controversy in 2010 when it jailed a gay couple for gross indecency after they held the country's first same-sex public "wedding".

Late President Bingu wa Mutharika said the pair had committed a crime against Malawi's culture, religion and laws but later pardoned them on "humanitarian grounds" after a meeting with UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon.
Legislation outlawing sodomy was suspended two years ago to await a government review in a country where many traditional Christian communities view homosexuality as sinful.

President Peter Mutharika's government will hold "public enquiries... in order to seek the views of Malawians on the issue," Janet Banda, solicitor general and secretary for justice, said in a statement.

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