Boakai Resists Gay Marriage, Embraces FGM

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Liberia's Vice President Boakai.JPG

Vice President Joseph N. Boakai has for the first time openly frowned on calls to legalize same-sex marriage and abolish Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Liberia.

Gay rights campaigners, allegedly backed by some western governments in 2013, stepped up a campaign asking the National Legislature to pass same-sex marriage legislation and decriminalize said practice.

Campaigners had also advocated that rights be given to individuals who want to be in same-sex relationships, marry and have family.

However, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer over the weekend, Vice President Boakai stated: “We have not reached a point where we can appreciate gay marriage [in Liberia].”

“I’m an African, a Liberian and a Christian. I have not gotten to the point where I will appreciate same-sex marriage and I am not going to be shy about it, let me be frank about that. It is a difficult thing for me because I have not come close to anything that will make me settle for that — not to mention my own religious background as a Christian.”

However, the VP was quick to add that maybe some Christians are involved in same-sex marriage but from his Christian orientation, he added: “It’s a hard stuff for me to swallow.”

Liberia’s Deputy President further kicked against the practice, stressing that Biblical teachings do not encourage such, and so Africans and Christians should as well resist this ugly practice.

He intoned that any laws supporting this practice will certainly not meet his approval.

Meanwhile, the Vice President at the same time embraced the practice of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) stating that there are some positive things that need to be learned.

He described FGM as a “sticky and an age-old tradition” that cannot be abolished overnight.

The Vice President said regardless of international protocols and treaties, the practice of a tradition should not be outrightly rejected.

“Let us understand what may be reasonable to us because of treaties; we should believe that when we make decisions we have to know how those decisions impact our people.

"They might not have been educated to a certain desirable level; we need to educate our people. There might be certain things that we are doing that need to be amended. There are some dangers about it that we need to educate our people about and show them the causes and effects (of these dangers). We cannot just get up and say everything that is placed on our table, we will go along with, whether or not a majority of our people are on board. I think this is an issue that needs a referendum but with proper education to show our people the causes and effects,” Mr. Boakai repeated.

He was quick to note that no single government or leadership “should just put a pen through it and say we should not practice it, we should consider the impact it will have on our people.”

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