Wednesday, May 19, 2010

State Department Response to Conviction of gay Malawi Couple

Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steve Monjeza were convicted in the Blantyre Magistrate Court on May 18 of violating Malawi Penal Code Chapter 15, Section 153 and 156, under which they had been charged with “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and “gross indecency.” Chief Resident Magistrate Usiwausiwa said he would pass sentence on May 20.

The couple was arrested following a public engagement ceremony.

The Department responded to the conviction during yesterday's Daily Press Briefing:

"The United States is deeply disappointed in today’s conviction of same-sex couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza in Malawi. We view the criminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as a step backward in the protection of human rights in Malawi. The Government of Malawi must respect the human rights of all of its citizens. The United States views the decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identity as integral to the protection of human rights in Malawi and elsewhere in the world."

It is nice to serve under an administration that recognizes this is a human rights issue worth addressing. It is also nice to live in a country, where while I am not a full citizen, I can at least not be arrested for marrying the love of my life.


Bfiles said...

I saw this article and photo this am and was so distressed. Good to see we took a strong stand.

Devon Whitney said...

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. Seems crazy to consider that in spite of our reluctance to legalize gay marriage, we are still light years ahead of many other countries.