Liberian president urged to veto anti-gay bill or lose Nobel prize

Petition calls for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf to reject law which criminalizes gay marriage

Liberian president urged to veto anti-gay bill or lose Nobel prize
26 July 2012

Gay rights activists are calling on the Liberian president to lose her Nobel Peace Prize if she signs a ban on gay marriage into law.

The Liberian Senate unanimously supported a bill criminalizing same-sex marriage, but the country’s leader Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is yet to sign the proposal into law.

Now campaigners are calling for the African president to lose her Nobel Peace Prize if she does not reject the homophobic legislation.

An online petition started by the director of Mr Gay South Africa, Coenie Kukkuk, asks Johnson-Sirleaf to honor her previous pledge to oppose tougher penalties for homosexuality.

‘President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has previously said she would veto any bill on homosexuality, whether to legalise it or to toughen laws,’ the petition reads.

‘This petition is to hold her to that promise and if she does not veto the bill and signs it, that her Nobel Peace Prize of 2011 be revoked and that she has to repay the prize money.

‘She has to live up to her country’s mantra of "The Love Of Liberty Brought Us Here". Liberia of all places should know what Liberty means and that it includes LGBTI people.’

Under the law, entering into a same-sex marriage would be a bailable offence and those convicted would only have to spend a short amount of time in prison or pay a fine.

The bill was sponsored by Senator Jewel Howard-Taylor, the wife of convicted war criminal and former president, Charles Taylor.

President Johnson-Sirleaf is on the record as opposing same-sex marriage and she has recently come under fire from colleagues for not being anti-gay enough.

Sirleaf was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 2011 for her work in campaigning for women’s rights and became Liberia’s first woman president in 2006.

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