Zimbabwe’s New Constitution Criminalizes Same-Sex Marriage

Zimbabwe’s New Constitution Criminalizes Same-Sex Marriage

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Global Political Agreement (GPA) leaders approved Zimbabwe’s new constitution that includes a clause banning equal marriage between same-sex couples. On February 8, it will be tabled before the parliament and be voted for.

Homosexuality had been one of the major issues that caused a slower pace during the drafting of the constitution with President Robert Mugabe reportedly attempted to allege Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangiri in legalizing marriage equality in an effort to stall the constitution process and to use the issue against them.

Section 4.78 of the draft constitution is where marriage rights could be found where in it prohibits forced marriages, marriages of people under 18 years old and same-sex marriages.

“Persons of the same sex are prohibited from marrying each other” found in Section 4.78 of the newly drafted constitution.

Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, co-chairperson of Zanu PF Copac, said that the clause was a clear statement that the country doesn’t condone homosexuality. “This is the first time we have this clause in our constitution”, he said.

“The constitution cannot provide more information as there will be other legal instruments to enforce it, such as the Sexual Offences Act. It’s clear sexual relationships between people of the same sex are prohibited.”

MDC-T Copac co-chair Douglas Mwonzora said, “The constitution cannot prescribe a crime, but the issue of homosexuality can be covered under the criminal law of sodomy.” Law of sodomy involves any malicious act between two males and which to the extent includes something as a simple gesture of hugging or holding hands.

“Same-sex marriage are prohibited and homosexuality is a crime under the country’s criminal laws.”

Mugabe criticized that the practice of homosexuality as “unAfrican” and branded gays and lesbians as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

Mugabe, a fierce critic of homosexuality, has often criticised the practice as unAfrican and branded gays and lesbians as “worse than pigs and dogs”.

Also in August of 2012, the country arrested 44 members of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe and closed down the group’s offices for “undermining the authority of the President”.

Sources:

  • Zimbabwe’s New Constitution Makes Gay Marriage A ‘Crime’ by Joe Morgan. Retrieved February 01, 2013. http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/zimbabwe%E2%80%99s-new-constitution-makes-gay-marriage-crime310113
  • Draft Makes Same-Sex Marriage Criminal. Retrieved February 01, 2013. http://www.newsday.co.zw/2013/01/31/draft-makes-same-sex-marriage-criminal/
  • Zimbabwe: New Draft Constitution Includes Equal Marriage Ban by Joseph Patrick McCormick. Retrieved February 01, 2013. http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/29/zimbabwe-new-draft-constitution-includes-equal-marriage-ban/

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