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Catholic lawyers push Cameroon to keep anti-gay law

Sandrine Soppo, leader of the Association of Cameroon Roman Catholic Jurists . (Photo courtesy of Leffortcamerounais)
Sandrine Soppo, leader of the Association of Cameroon Roman Catholic Jurists . (Photo courtesy of Leffortcamerounais)

A group of Roman Catholic lawyers in Cameroon gathered last weekend to call for continued enforcement of the country’s law against homosexual acts, which can be punished by prison sentences of up to five years.

Africa Review reported:

The Association of Cameroon Roman Catholic jurists made the weekend declaration during a conference on homosexuality held in the economic capital Douala.

Sandrine Soppo, who heads the group, said opposing homosexuality is not a question of human rights violations, a stance often taken by those who want gay unions legalised in the country. According to the lawyer, the question was about human dignity.

“We are taken aback by the current state of the world… we deem it necessary to respond. The Association of Catholic Jurists wants people to understand that the world is in danger and must reframe its values,” she said.

The group’s position echoes the Church’s vehement disapproval of homosexuality, which is said to be flourishing even though it is a criminal offence in the central African nation. …

Local and international gay rights defenders have been bitterly critical of the laws that forbid homosexuality, which is widely viewed in the country as an unwanted western cultural import. [Editor’s note: For a discussion of native African homosexuality, see the article “What traditional African homosexuality learned from West.”]

On January 30, President Paul Biya told reporters in Paris that “mindsets can evolve in one way or another” regarding same-sex unions after a meeting with his French counterpart François Hollande.

Catholic bishops in Cameroon recently called on Christians to show compassion by coming to the aid of gays — through prayer and spiritual guidance. The bishops have not called for compassion in the form of not throwing homosexuals in prison.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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