It’s always nice when religious groups can put aside their differences and come together to oppress another group of people, ain’t it? In Liberia, Christians and Muslims buried the hate, only to dig it up again and throw it in the face of the country’s LGBT population, as hundreds gathered Saturday to pressure the government into banning same-sex marriage.
Over 25,000 Liberians have signed a resolution to ban gay marriage, though the campaign is seeking a total of 1 million. Recently, the Liberian senate passed a bill strengthening its law against homosexuality that is currently seeking approval by the House of Representatives before being sent to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Previously, Sirleaf said that though she would not decriminalize homosexuality, she would also not sign proposed legislation banning gay marriage and attaching a 10-year sentence to committing a homosexual act. However, Sirleaf softened slightly, with a little help from the US State Department, and said her government would “guarantee people’s civil liberties.”
Rudolph Marsh of the Liberia Council of Churches expressed his disapproval of this foreign influence. The Washington Post reports:
“There are good things in America that we can copy,” he said, “we don’t have to copy the bad ones; let’s leave the bad ones with Americans.”
Marsh called on Liberian Christians and Muslims to remain united “and stand together and tell the world that Liberia is a place of civilized people and will not allow same-sex marriage.”
Muslim leader Sheikh Omaru Kamara, representing his faith at the ceremony, hailed the unity of purpose that both Christians and Muslims were showing against homosexuality.
With such a united front, Liberia’s lone LGBT rights advocate Archie Ponpon faces a difficult road ahead. He was reportedly mobbed twice and his mother’s house burned to the ground following the formation of the Movement for the Defense of Gays and Lesbians in Liberia (MODEGAL) in April. Still, Ponpon told the Post he “is trying to liberalize the minds of people about the rights of others to do what they want to do.”