Catholic Church in Lilongwe to petition Parliament on homosexuality

The Catholic Archdiocese of Lilongwe has joined other religious bodies expressing sentiments against legalization of homosexuality in Malawi.

The archdiocese will submit a petition against homosexuality at Parliament Buildings in the Capital, Lilongwe, on 29th June.

Its action, like other bodies, follow a hearing by the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) in Blantyre meant to interpret Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between two consenting adults.

The archdiocese, on 14th June, 2023, wrote the office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, informing the office of its intention to submit a petition against homosexuality.

The letter, signed by Chaplain Fr. Emmanuel Diliwo and Secretary Janet Siliya, is copied to Secretary to the President and Cabinet and Chief Justice.

It reads, in part: “On behalf of the lay faithful of the Catholic Church of the Archdiocese of Lilongwe, we the undersigned wish to notify your good office about our intention to present to you a petition on our faith-beliefs, views and opinions against legalization of homosexuality in Malawi.

“Homosexuality is against the Scripture and the teachings of the Catholic Church and it is about acts against the order of nature, therefore, should not be promoted in any way.

“It is our conviction that these acts should not be allowed in a country touting to be God-fearing. We look forward to meeting you in person for the defined purpose”.

The interpretation hearing follows a constitutional referral matter of 2021 involving a Dutch national Jan Willem Akstar and a transgender woman Jana Gonani, who are challenging the constitutionality of banning same sex marriages in the country.

A ruling in favour of the two would effectively legalize same sex marriages and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) activities in the country, which are outlawed by sections 153 and 156 of the Penal Code.

In May, Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) had called on the judges of the High Court in Blantyre to rule against same-sex unions.

The ConCourt had adjourned the hearing to June 5 and June 6 this year.

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