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SAME SEX MARRIAGE CASE ADJOURNED TO JULY 17

By Our Reporter

The High Court in Blantyre has adjourned to July 17-19 this year hearing of an application to declare Malawi’s homosexuality laws unconstitutional.

Monday afternoon, Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda and private prosecutor Victor Jere cross-examined Professor Alexander Muller, witness to the second applicant, Jana Gonani; a transgender.

The cross-examination bordered on Muller’s study on minority rights in Malawi which the defense argued lacked merit as it was not representating even 1% of the country’s population with only 197 respondents used.

Muller, who confessed being gay, told the court that most LGBTQI people die earlier due to stress, depression and stigma. She added most of them also don’t use condoms during sex because they are not allowed to access health services.

Later, Bob Chimkango, lawyer for Gonani, re-examined Muller on what it takes to conduct a study to arrive at a conclusion in the case in question. Towards the end, Chimkango expressed fear with some people outside the court who carried placards against the LGBTQI community; arguing that had a potential threat on the case.

But Jere said this was not the first time for the people to come; adding some were even spotted wearing t-shirts written ‘LGBTQI’. He argued this could not in anyway influence the court judgment.

Judge Joseph Chigona agreed with the defence; saying the situation was not worrisome at all. Meanwhile, Chakaka Nyirenda informed the court that he would be out of the country for other duties until next month.

First applicant, Jan Willem Akstar, a Dutch national; and Jana Gonani moved the Constitutional Court; arguing the country’s homosexuality laws violate their right to privacy and dignity among others.

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