Liberian Speaker rules out gay rights bills
The Speaker of Liberia’s House of Representatives has said no gay rights bills will make progress during his tenure.
Alex J Tyler, a member of the Unity Party, told the Truth FM Breakfast Show that any law enshrining equal rights for gays would be immoral, All Africa reports.
Tyler was recently re-elected for a second six-year term as the head of the House.
Liberia, in west Africa, has a population of about 3.8 million people but no gay rights organisations, according to reports.
Gay acts are illegal in the country. The U.S. State Department’s 2010 Human Rights Report said while “there were no reported instances of violence based on sexual orientation […] the culture is strongly opposed to homosexuality”.
The comments from one of the continent’s smaller states echo other made in response to western efforts to promote the protection of gay people’s human rights.
In October 2011, the UK government announced it would be redirecting aid away from the central governments of states which fail to recognise gay rights, to reach those in need of financial help through other means.
In December, the Obama administration issued a landmark set of instructions to US departments instructing them to take gay rights into consideration in matters of foreign policy and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the UN in Geneva gay rights were “not a western invention, but a human reality”.
Responses to the governments’ announcements were mixed, with some rights campaigners fearing a backlash. Ghana’s president said they would “never support” legalised homosexuality.
A Ugandan official said the country was “tired of these lectures” and of being treated “like children” over its human rights obligations.
Speaker Tyler reportedly said Liberia would need to “rethink its relationship with the United States” if it wanted the state to protect gay rights.