“We are not ready”: Religious Leaders in Malawi Demonstrate against Same-Sex Marriages

A protester carrying a placard during the July 13 peaceful demonstration. Credit: Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM)

Religious leaders in Malawi have expressed their disapproval of same-sex relationships through peaceful protests in the Southern African nation’s major cities. 

In the Thursday, July 13 demonstrations that members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) spearheaded in collaboration with the Malawi Council of Churches (MCC), and the Muslim Association of Malawi, the protesters called on President Lazarus Chakwera to resist the external pressure to legalize same-sex marriages.

Speaking before presenting a petition to Government spokesman, Moses Kunkuyu, in Lilongwe, MCC President, Rev. William Tembo, said same-sex relationships are "strange, and we are not ready to accept these unfamiliar phenomena in Malawi".

"We are a family-oriented nation, a nation that fears God, and that is why the church stands against same-sex campaigners," Rev. Tembo during the peaceful protests in Lilongwe that Archbishop George Desmond Tambala spearheaded.  

In Blantyre, Archbishop Thomas Luke Msusa of the Catholic Archdiocese of Blantyre condemned said same-sex unions as sinful, and added, “If we change the way we live as a family, it means we will cease to exist.”


“If we continue to marry a man with a man, surely the offspring, no children will come, then no life in the world, no life in Malawi,” Archbishop Msusa further said.

On his part, Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, said, "Homosexuality goes against everything that we believe as a people.”

The Malawi July 13 peaceful protests were organized at a time when the Constitutional Court in the country is deliberating on a case that seeks to interpret Section 153 (c) of the Penal Code of Malawi, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations between two consenting adults.

On July 6, Catholic Bishops in the Southern African nation announced the “peaceful match”, aimed at making their stance about the institution of the family, and the issue of human sexuality clarified “amidst the misleading discussions and debates going around in various fora.”

In a May statement, ECM alongside MCC and the Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) asked Malawians 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.” 

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The Christian leaders in Malawi added 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.”

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