Now Liberia: Senator proposes death penalty for gays

In a conversation last year, David Bahati told me that other African nations had expressed interest in his Anti-Homosexuality Bill. I do not know whether or not Jewel Howard Taylor (ex-first lady of Liberia, now Senator) has seen Bahati’s bill but she is proposing a similar measure. According to the AFP:

MONROVIA — Former Liberian first lady Jewel Howard Taylor has introduced a bill making homosexuality liable to a death sentence, amid a raging debate over gay rights in the country, a lawmaker said Wednesday.

The bill submitted by former president Charles Taylor’s ex-wife, now a senator, also seeks to amend laws to prohibit gay marriage.

“No two persons of the same sex shall have sexual relations. A violation of this prohibition will be considered a first degree felony,” reads the proposed amendment to marriage laws.

First degree punishment can range from 10 years to life imprisonment to the death sentence, on the discretion of the judge.

Voluntary sodomy is already a criminal offence in the west African country and can result in up to three years imprisonment, according to a lawyer consulted by AFP.

George Tengbeh, a senator supporting the bill, said he hoped it would put an end to months of acrimonious public debate on gay rights.

Some additional background on Sen. Taylor’s actions…

A similar bill was offered in the Liberian House last week by Clarence K. Massaquoi. This article has some detail about the proposed Act:

The Act states among other things that immediately after the passage of the Act, Chapter 14, Sub-Chapter D of the New Penal Code will now be amended and that Section 2 Sub-Chapter 14.80 will be added to which states that a person is guilty of Same Sex Sexual practices if he/she has sexual intercourse with another person of the same gender (male/female) with or without the consent of either person.

The Act also states that a person is guilty if he/she purposefully engages in acts that arouses or tend to arouse another person of the same gender (male/female) to have sexual intercourse; willfully, and with total disregard to societal moral dignity, seduces, encourages, promotes another person of the same gender (male/female) to engage into sexual activities.
According to the proposed bill which has been sent into committee room for review, Same Sex Sexual Practices is a felony of the Second degree, and as such the trial of all cases under Chapter 14.80 shall be heard in open Court.
The bill was on the Liberian House agenda last week.