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Democratic Republic of Congo to consider banning gay sex

Sunday, December 15, 2013
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KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo — A draft bill has been proposed to criminalize gay sex the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

National Assembly Member Steve Mbikayi, the bill’s sponsor, said Saturday the bill is necessary in order to “preserve African values,” which, he insists, “have never tolerated romantic relationships between persons of the same sex.”

DRC-mapSame-sex sexual activity is legal the DRC, as homosexual acts have never been explicitly outlawed in the country’s history.

Nevertheless, the U.S. Department of State’s 2010 Human Rights Report found that “individuals engaging in public displays of homosexuality were subject to prosecution under public decency provisions in the penal code and articles in the 2006 law on sexual violence.”

Mbikayi said the legislation is important and needed in order to avoid “moral depravity” and protect the Congolese youth from “western morals.”

“Given the [direction the] wind is blowing around the world, and since most African countries ban homosexuality, we have legal vacuum that is screaming [for attention],” he said. “As it were, silence implies consent.”

Mbikayi said he introduced the bill “to protect Congolese youth and our people against these practices.”

“It is not normal to watch on TV people promoting homosexuality, lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgender, in theaters or movies,” he said. “We should not blindly copy what is done there Indiana … and give this culture to our children.”
Steve Mbikayi did disclose the bill’s details, which he said he drafted last month and hopes it will gain popular approval.

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Denis Bouwen, Editor of the CongoForum and an LGBT rights activist, told LGBTQ Nation: “If I have to speculate about his motives, maybe Mbikayi wants to attract attention to himself and expand his reputation. Perhaps he has ties with churches trying to influence African countries to maintain or introduce homophobic laws.

Bouwen said that Evangelical churches are growing in mainly Catholic Congo, and “often these are real businesses run by pastors/business men, it’s a real pest I think. I think it’s likely they are allied with US evangelical churches.”

“What offends me most is the fact that the Congolese population has other priorities: poverty, social conditions, unemployment, health care, education,” said Bouwen. “Attacking gays is so out of touch with reality, except for those who want to distract people’s minds of course.”

The bill, introduced Friday, comes just two days after the Supreme Court of India reversed a 2009 lower court order that had decriminalized gay sex.

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