Homosexual acts are illegal in Malawi but president Joyce Banda has announced her government’s intention to decriminalise homosexuality. The move is in stark contrast to the approach of her predecessor, Bingu wa Mutharika, who openly condemned it.
Male to male relationships: Not legal
Punishments for male to male relationships: Imprisonment of 10 years or more
Female to female relationships: Not legal
Marriage and substitutes for marriage: No law
More on Malawi law at ilga.org
Consensual female same-sex sexual acts in Malawi were previously not criminalised, but in December 2010, Malawi’s Parliament passed a bill amending the Penal Code to include Section 137A, which prohibits “any act of gross indecency with another female” which was enacted into law in January 2011. (Source: European Parliament)
Minister of Justice Ephraim Chiume announced in December 2011 that Malawi would review the ban on homosexual acts, "in response to public onion". (Source: ilga.org).
Legal incidents and social climate
In May 2010, a Malawian couple, a transgender woman and a man, were convicted by the Malawian courts for having committed "unnatural offenses" and "indecent practices between males" under sections 153 and 156 of Malawi's criminal code, following arrest at their home in Blantyre. Local newspapers had reported that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza had participated in a public same-sex chinkhoswe, or engagement ceremony. The couple was sentenced to the maximum 14 years in prison with hard labour, but later pardoned by former President Bingu wa Mutharika after an international outcry. (Source: ilga.org).
Read more about the social climate for LGBT people in Malawi in this article from ilga.org
CEDEP, The Centre For The Development Of People : CEDEP is a registered human rights organisation dedicated to addressing the needs, improving the lives, and providing support for some of Malawi's most neglected minority groups through civic education, training, capacity building, networking and research.