High Court in Malawi Postpones Same-Sex Unions Ruling after Christian Leaders’ Outcry


The High Court in Blantyre, Malawi, has postponed the hearing meant to interpret Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code of the Southern African nation, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between two consenting adults to June 5 and June 6 from May 23. 

The postponement comes a couple of days when officials of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) had called on the judges of the High Court in Blantyre to rule against same-sex unions.

Attorney General (AG) Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda confirmed the postponement of the hearing to the press on May 23. 

The AG said that he received a communication that the date was changed to give time to representatives of interested parties to prepare their submissions. 

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.


In their statement shared with ACI Africa on May 21, the Christian leaders in Malawi urged the judiciary not to change the law that criminalizes same-sex unions for consenting adults without consulting 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 said. 

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

The ECM, MCC, and EAM officials said legalizing same-sex unions in the country would violate religious liberties as faith leaders would be forced to officiate homosexual marriages in churches. 

Legalizing homosexuality would also promote moral decay, the Christian leaders said in their statement shared with ACI Africa May 21.

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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.