BROBO, Ivory Coast — Gay marriage is an “aberration” and “will mark the end of the world,” according to Gnamien Konan, Ivory Coast’s Minister of Public Service.
“The marriage consent for same-sex couples will mark the end of the world,” Konan said last week during the inauguration of a new municipality building of Brobo, a city about 260 miles north of the Ivorian capital of Abidjan.
“In the Ivory Coast it [gay marriage] clashes with our cultural and moral values,” he said. “Moreover, it is said that two things of the same nature or body repel or reject. This is an aberration.”
Konan said “the world will ensure its posterity only through an offspring resulting from a union of man and woman.”
“Two persons of the same sex will never procreate, thus undermining our people’s posterity,” he said. “If we say that we work for our offspring, why should we accept the marriage of two persons of the same sex?”
Konan’s attack on same-sex marriage comes after France announced a grant of €45,000 (about $59,000 USD) for an Ivorian charity to help “promote human rights and the fight against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”.
Following the grant as well as Konan’s speech, the anti-gay rhetoric was quickly picked up by the Ivory Coast’s media, alleging that Europe was sponsoring “gay Eldorado” in Africa.
Touré Claver, chair of LGBT rights group Alternative Côte d’Ivoire, said that while the situation is comparatively better in the country than in many African states, the idea that Ivory Coast is an “Eldorado” is far from reality.
He stated that cases of lynching are still reported, and in October 9, 2011, a young gay man named Clovis had been severely beaten in Bassam, a town east of Abidjan.
Ivory Coast is one of the few African countries where consensual private same-sex acts are legal and have never criminalized.
However, a 2011 Human Rights Report by the U.S. State Department found societal stigmatization of the LGBT community in the Ivory Coast was reportedly widespread, and the government did not act to counter it during the year.
The report noted that gay men were reportedly subjected to beatings, imprisonment, verbal abuse, humiliation, and extortion by the country’s security forces.
The country’s security forces have recently closed Ivory Coast’s only gay bar.