By Cathy Kristofferson, April 16, 2014
The AP is reporting plans to hold a mass anti-gay rally in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, have been cancelled. The two religious groups planning the rally announced last week it would be held on April 26th. The government-affiliated Addis Ababa Youth Forum and a religious group associated with the Ethiopian Orthodox Church reported an alarming increased rate of ‘homosexual acts’ had caused the need for the rally.
Chairman of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church group the Weyiniye Abune Tekelehaimanot Association, Dereje Negash, had previously told reporters at a press conference:
“Children are being raped by gay people in this country. … All in all, gay acts are against health, the law, religion and our culture, so we should break the silence and create awareness about it.”
Today, Negash said the cancellation is the result of people inside the church asking the government to prevent the rally.
Currently, same-sex acts are punishable by up to 15 years in prison or 25 years if convicted of infecting another person with HIV during same-sex acts in the country.
Also today, government spokesman Redwan Hussein, said the Ethiopian government does not support the anti-gay movements that have been building in the country. He said that the bill recently submitted, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice, which would have made gay sex crimes an unpardonable offense has now been dropped.
Maybe gay bashing isn’t so popular in Ethiopia after all. Let’s hope that sentiment spreads across the African continent.