Nobel Peace Prize Winner Defends Anti-Gay Law

Nobel Peace Prize winner and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf in an interview with the Guardian taking a position that she will not decriminalize the current anti-gay law.

“We like ourselves just the way we are. We’ve got certain traditional values in our society that we would like to preserve.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, present on a humanitarian mission, refused to address the issue in the joint interview with the Guardian.

There have been no recent convictions under the sodomy law, according to the latest US state department human rights report.

Under the current Liberian law “voluntary sodomy” is classified as a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison. Two new bills have been proposed that would target homosexuality with much tougher sentences including up to 10 years in prison.

One of the newly proposed bills would carry a prison sentence of up to five years and make a person guilty of a second-degree felony if he or she “seduces, encourages or promotes another person of the same gender to engage in sexual activities” or “purposefully engages in acts that arouse or tend to arouse another person of the same gender to have sexual intercourse.”

The second bill would punish gay marriage with up to ten years in prison.

After the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, announced in December that America’s foreign aid budget would promote the protection of gay rights, Liberian newspapers have published numerous articles and editorials describing homosexuality as “desecrating”, “abusive” and an “abomination”.

Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch in west Africa stated:

“Over the last six months, we’ve seen a worrying increase in anti-gay rhetoric, intolerance and indeed attacks on individuals fighting for the rights of Liberians in same-sex relationships”

According Tiawan S. Gongloe, the country’s former solicitor general:

“If she tried to decriminalise the [current anti-gay] law it would be political suicide.”

Do you think such punishment for this particular “crime” is justified?

Check out this video of the interview.