Malawi first lesbian marriage, risks arrests

Two Malawian women became the first same-sex couple to hold a traditional engagement, The Sunday Times newspaper reported, risking arrest as Police say homosexuality remains illegal in the country.

Redgner Mmangausi and Ruth Banda from Blantyre married in a traditional ceremony last Saturday in Chigumula Township.

The ceremony is said to have been held privately but the newspaper published pictures of the two lovers in romantic mood and kissing.

 Nyasa Times reporters tracked down the couple on Sunday and they confirmed being in “long time love relationship.”

The lesbian couple in Malawi. Regina Mmangausi and Ruth Banda. Photo credit - Sunday Times

“We promised to love each other for the rest of our lives,” said Ruth Banda – who acts as a wife in the relationship.

Mmangausi, who acts as a male partner, said they held the ceremony privately but talked about how meaningful it would be to them  to have their wedding in public.

She said the ceremony was not a publicity stunt because it was held privately.

Homosexuality is currently banned in Malawi and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.

Police spokesman Davie Chingwalu said officers have learnt about the marriage  in the press and since d the law in Malawi does not currently  allow such practice, the “law will have to take its course

President Joyce Banda told Parliament on Friday that she wants Malawi to overturn its ban on homosexual acts

“Indecency and unnatural acts laws shall be repealed,” President Banda said in her first state of the nation address .

However, the development has generated a hot debate in the media and social networking sites.

Malawi was widely condemned for the conviction and 14-year prison sentences given in 2010 to two men who were arrested after celebrating their engagement and were charged with unnatural acts and gross indecency.

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