The Roman Catholic archbishop of the capital city of Yaounde celebrated Christmas Day Mass with a fresh round of gay-baiting. The archbishop described same-sex marriage as a "crime against humanity," reports Reuters. The West African nation is heavily Catholic. An estimated one of out four citizens belong to the Catholic Church.
"We need to stand up to combat it with all our energy. I am particularly thankful to our local media that has been spreading this message of it as a criminality against mankind."
The comments follow a three-year jail sentence handed earlier this month to 32-year-old Jean-Claude Roger Mbede, who was found guilty of homosexual conduct because he sent a text message to another man telling him he loved him. At least 12 people were convicted this year of being gay in Cameroon, where jail terms range from six months to five years.
Cameroon is one of at least 38 of Africa's 54 nations that currently have laws penalizing same-sex relations or even sexuality. Four nations—Mauritania, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan—boast the death penalty for gays or same-sex activity. South Africa and Seychelles are the only African nations that protect LGBT rights. South Africa is also the only African nation to guarantee marriage equality.
Cameroon President Paul Biya—who has held office since 1982—boasts one of Africa's more repressive anti-LGBT regimes. Recent months have seen an increase in arrests and prosecutions under section 347a of its penal code, which criminalizes same-sex sexual acts. The government is preparing to toughen its already harsh penalties against homosexuality by equating them with pedophilia.
Gay men in Cameroon are routinely and randomly arrested and subjected to legal ordeals that continue for years. Since late July 2011, a 19-year-old and a 20-year-old have been in police custody. Reports suggest the youths were arrested because they appeared "feminine". The two men received the maximum prison sentence of five years in November 2011.
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