Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) says its members welcome the recent overwhelming vote in favor of the country’s new constitution, despite its provision banning same-sex marriage.
With a new constitution, the country can move forward to new elections and to protection of the rights of all citizens, GALZ said.
GALZ Director Chesterfield Samba urged quick repeal of the country’s law that provides for a one-year prison sentence for sexual relations between men.
Zimbabwe’s LGBTI community reported participating in the referendum for a new constitution despite the draft prohibiting same sex marriages. GALZ believes that the draft constitution provides a useful foundation on which Zimbabwe can rebuild respect for human rights by its institutions and citizens.
The Constitution recognises in its founding values, the equality and inherent dignity and worth of all human beings. These are important values which are common to all Zimbabweans, including GALZ members. GALZ believes that the Constitution is not the appropriate forum to give effect to the private beliefs held by some that same-sex couples should not be married.
GALZ Director, Chesterfield Samba said of the constitution, “We hope that the government will soon seek to amend the Criminal Code which continues to criminalise consensual adult same-sex sexual conduct in violation of our constitutional rights. We are however concerned at the continued harassment of human rights defenders in the country.”