No gay rights bills to progress in LiberiaAround the World Thursday, January 19th, 2012
MONROVIA, Liberia – Liberia’s House of Representatives speaker has said no gay rights bills will make progress during his tenure.
Tyler was recently re-elected for a second six-year term as the head of the House.
Same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Liberia and the country does not recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships. Furthermore, there is no legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The U.S. State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report said while “there were no reported instances of violence based on sexual orientation … the culture is strongly opposed to homosexuality”.
These comments, coming from one of the continent’s smaller states echo others made in response to western efforts to promote the protection of gay people’s human rights.
Last year the U.K. government announced it would be redirecting aid away from the central governments of states which fail to recognize gay rights, to reach those in need of financial help through other means.
In December, the Obama administration issued a landmark set of instructions to U.S. departments instructing them to take gay rights into consideration in matters of foreign policy and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the U.N. in Geneva gay rights were “not a western invention, but a human reality”.
Responses to the Liberian announcement were mixed, with some rights campaigners fearing a backlash. Ghana’s president said they would “never support” legalized homosexuality.
A Ugandan official said the country was “tired of these lectures” and of being treated “like children” over its human rights obligations.
Speaker Tyler reportedly said Liberia would need to “rethink its relationship with the United States” if it wanted the state to protect gay rights.
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