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Update: Gay couple in Malawi pardoned

A couple weeks back I talked about a couple that was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment for the shocking, deplorable act of… well, being in love with each other. However, ultra-religious Malawi doesn’t like it when you’re in love with someone who has similar genitalia (although to be 100% clear, it was a law that was brought in by the British).

However, it seems that what Malawi likes even less than ‘teh butt secks’ is getting their own ass pounded by the international community:

Mr (President Bingu wa) Mutharika, speaking as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited his country, said he had ordered their immediate release.

We don’t get a lot of flashy victories in the fight against the forces of stupid, but this one is a bit of good news. Luckily, the voices of reason were able to shout down the voices of “that’s just how they do things in their culture” and get these two guys out of jail. Listen, folks: when my country trades with your country, when the health and well-being of your citizens affects my bottom line, and when you are violating their human rights (as I define them), then I absolutely have a right to speak up. When the suffering of your people inspires outrage and sympathy in my people, and they demand that I do something, you’d better believe that I’m going to speak up. If you want to practice barbarism, then you’ve got to deal with the consequences; one of which is the fact that the richest parts of the world have moved past your small-minded interpretation of scripture. You want our money? You’ve got to play by our rules. You want to keep your practices the same? Then you’ve got to convince me (and my people) that you’re justified in doing so. “This is the way we do things here” is not justification, it’s special pleading, and I’m not swayed by it.

Of course, there’s no happy ending to this story. Homosexuality is still illegal in Malawi, and bowing to legal pressure (and probably threats of physical violence), the couple has split up, and one man is now pretending to be heterosexual. It’s tragic that they’re unable and seemingly unwilling to stand up for gay rights in their country, but I can understand why. I can only hope that other gay people in Africa are more willing to stand up to the pressure and demand their human rights, despite the horrible cost.

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