The heat generated by the issue of gay rights in America is just barely lukewarm compared with what one finds on the African continent. In an article on same-sex marriage in Portugal a couple of weeks ago, the NY Times provided this graphic:
which shows 10 sub-Saharan countries with penalties of 10 or more years of prison time for gay male relationships (and many other countries have less severe penalties, let alone widespread informal discrimination). Only in South Africa — where actual treatment of gays varies widely throughout the country — is gay marriage legal.
The interesting news this week is Morgan Tsvangirai’s bold statement that he would support gay rights in Zimbabwe were he to become president. In the BBC story and interview, not only did Tsvangirai reverse his 2010 statement on the issue — agreeing with Mugabe’s view on the matter — but he proclaimed that this was a “human right.”
For some time, I have been trying to find the time to do some systematic research explaining cross-country variation on attitudes and policies towards gays… and I am still trying. In the meantime, I would love to know what led Tsvangirai to make this statement — one that is clearly not going to score him any important political points at election time next year.