While on American soil many states are making same-sex marriages legal, across the pond it is quiet the opposite.
Chad is set to become the 37th country to outlaw homosexuality in Africa. Government officials have voted to make same-sex relations a crime carrying a punishment of 20 years in prison.
The countries penal code, which is more than 50-years-old, did not explicitly condemn homosexuality. However, with the addition of section 361, a new code, it states the punishment for anyone who has sexual intercourse with someone of the same-sex is 15 to 20 years in jail and a fine of 50,000-500,000 Central African francs (£60-£600), according to a document obtained by Agence France-Presse.
Chad’s cabinet stated 361 is intended to “protect the family and to comply with Chadian society. However, many gay right advocates believe this new code is a stumbling block in the fight for gay rights.
In a quote to The Guardian, Graeme Reid, director of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights programme at Human Rights Watch, said, “This is a setback for legal reform in Chad – the revisions to the penal code are intended to integrate national law with international law, whereas this provision would do exactly the opposite.”
In a press release, Robert F Kennedy Centre for Justice and Human Rights urged Chad’s president to reject the new code and stated forbidding homosexuality is a form of discrimination.
It read, “Kerry Kennedy, President of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, today urged Idriss Déby, the president of Chad, to reject proposed changes to the nation’s penal code that would criminalize same-sex sexual activity. The changes, approved by Chad’s cabinet, now await approval from the parliament and President Déby.”
In addition, the new code also outlaws the death penalty. Déby has yet to approve the decision.