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Madonna Comes Out for Malawi Couple Sentenced to 14 Years Hard Labor

May 21, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Featured, Marriage Equality

I’ve been following the story of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga since their wedding day.  When the couple became the first men in Malawi to get “married,” they knew the risk they were taking.  Shortly after their ceremony, they were arrested and charged with public indecency.  On May 20, 2010, after being denied bail because it would be unsafe for the couple to return to society, the two were sentence to 14 years hard labor.

Madonna, who has adopted two children, Mercy and David, from Malawi, made a plea to the Malawi people:

I am shocked and saddened by the decision made today by the Malawian court, which sentenced two innocent men to prison. As a matter of principle, I believe in equal rights for all people, no matter what their gender, race, color, religion, or sexual orientation,” Madonna said in a statement.

Today, Malawi took a giant step backward. The world is filled with pain and suffering; therefore, we must support our basic human right to love and be loved.

I call upon the progressive men and women of Malawi – and around the world – to challenge this decision in the name of human dignity and equal rights for all.

Malawi Condones Gay Rights Group then Arrests Gay Couple

January 04, 2010 By: jaysays Category: Discrimination, Featured, LGBT News

Malawi recently made news when its President, Bingu wa Mutharika, condoned the establishment of a gay rights organization.  This green light was particularly remarkable in the South African country because homosexuality is illegal there.  Those convicted of homosexuality can be sentenced up to 14 years hard labor.

Now, Malawi is making gay news again, only this time because magistrate, Nyakwawa Usiwausiwa, refused bail to two men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, charged with public indecency after holding a marriage ceremony.  The rationale for the refusal of bail used by Usiwausiwa is that it is unsafe to allow the couple out of prison because people are angry with them.  However, in a recent interview, the men advised that they have already been beaten in prison.  So much for the magistrate’s worry over the safety of the men.

The couple is the first of its kind [gay] to marry in the country; however, such marriages are not legally recognized in Malawi.  Of course, public indecency is a different charge than homosexuality; therefore, the government must gather more evidence against the men before they can be charged with homosexuality (more specifically, with having gay sex).  How does a government gather evidence to convict the men?  Simple, they send them for medical exams to determine whether or not intercourse has occurred.

NOTE: Tiwonge Chimbalanga is a 20 year old biological male who dresses as a woman.  It is unknown whether Chimbalanga identifies as male or female.