Malawi ruling against same-sex relationships sparks debate

(Ngala Killian Chimtom. Crux).

Conservative church leaders are praising a recent ruling by Malawi’s Constitutional Court refusing to decriminalize same-sex relationships, while human rights groups are condemning the move in the southern African nation. In a landmark ruling on June 28, the court dismissed a case brought by two applicants challenging Malawi’s laws criminalizing same-sex relationships, wanting the court to legalize gay relationships in the country. The two applicants, Jan Willem Akster from the Netherlands and a Malawian trans woman, Jana Gonani, were responding to criminal charges in lower courts. Akster had been accused of sexual abuse and sodomy, while Jana faces trial for what Malawian law described as “unnatural behavior.”