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Report Attacks African Nations' Justifications For Anti-Gay Laws

06/10/2015 08:27 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016
ASSOCIATED PRESS

In response to the increasing criminalization of homosexuality throughout Africa in recent years, an international team of researchers released a scientific report countering every government justification for enacting anti-gay laws.

A group of scientists shredded every argument used by African governments to justify the recent glut of anti-gay laws across the continent in a new, scathing report.

The report published Wednesday by the Academy of Science of South Africa excoriated leaders for unscientific claims that homosexuality is contagious, unnatural, learned or a medical condition.

"As variation in sexual identities and orientations has always been part of a normal society, there can be no justification for attempts to ‘eliminate’ LGBTI from society," the report authored by 11 South Africans, one Ugandan and one American said. "Efforts should rather be focused on countering the belief systems that create hostile and even violent environments for those who are ‘othered’ within ‘heteronormative’ societies."

Anti-gay laws are on the books in 38 of 53 African countries, the report said, including four of seven countries worldwide where same-sex activity is punishable by death.

Homophobic sentiments intensified in Africa in recent years, the journal Nature reported, with Uganda, Gambia and Nigeria introducing anti-gay legislation last year.

The reports findings are already accepted globally in the scientific community as fact. But the authors' argued the reports must come from Africa to root out illegitimate ideas like sexual orientation being a choice or that homosexuality is a contagious disease while extolling public health benefits of tolerance.

“It had to be Africa-led,” Glenda Gray, co-chair of the report panel, told Nature. “If it were American-led, African governments would say that it was Western propaganda.”

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