Don’t Legalize Same-sex Unions: Malawi’s Christian Leaders to Judges ahead of Ruling

Protesters at a Profamily event in Kenya. Credit: Courtesy Photo

Church leaders in Malawi are calling on the country’s High Court in Blantyre to rule against same-sex unions.

On Tuesday, May 23, the High Court in Blantyre is expected to interpret Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code of Malawi, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between two consenting adults. 

The case follows an application by Jana Gonani, a transgender woman, who was convicted in December 2021 by the Mangochi Senior Magistrate Court on the charge of unnatural offense contrary to Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code.

Ahead of the ruling, officials of the Catholic Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) are asking the people of God in the Southern African nation to sit peacefully outside the High Court in Blantyre “silently praying to the God of heaven that Malawi, as a nation, shall seek to live by God’s righteousness and not depart from His divine laws governing our morality.” 

In a statement shared with ACI Africa Sunday, May 21, officials of the Christian Mother Bodies in Malawi say, “The judiciary should not change this fundamental law without consultation of all Malawians.”


“We are of the view that this is a fundamental part of our law, which if indeed has to be changed, can only be changed by the will of the majority of the citizens of this nation through either a referendum or through the people's representatives in parliament,” they say. 

The Christian leaders add that having three judges changing the Malawian law that criminalizes homosexuality “would (be) tantamount to an infringement of people’s rights, values, and interests.”

They say legalizing same-sex relationships in the country would infringe religious liberties as faith leaders would be obliged to officiate marriage of homosexual couples in churches.

The Christian leaders in Malawi add that legalizing same-sex unions “would promote moral decay in our society as our children and young people in schools and colleges, including mission Schools, will openly be taught homosexuality as being normal. This is unacceptable behavior.”  

They further say that homosexuality is a sin, and normalizing it would threaten the natural family unit, which is the core of a strong society.

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The leaders drawn from the main Christian bodies in the country call upon Malawians to unite against homosexuality. 

Faith leaders need to sensitize Malawians on the dangers of same-sex unions and “earnestly pray” against the legalization of homosexuality by the country’s judiciary, they say.

The church leaders also ask human rights groups that are advocating for homosexuality “to seriously reflect on their actions and not be used to cause the nation to sin against God.” 

The international community “should respect our sovereignty as a nation and not dictate values which are conflicting with our religious and cultural beliefs as a people,” the leaders drawn from ECM, MCC, and EAM say in their statement.

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.