Nobel Prize Winner Backs Anti-Gay Laws


No, it's not Barack Obama this time, but Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who sat down with former war puppet Tony Blair for a wide-ranging interview on the aims of Blair's post-post-colonial Africa Governance Initiative:

The Nobel peace prize winner and president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has defended a law that criminalises homosexual acts, saying: "We like ourselves just the way we are."

In a joint interview with Tony Blair, who was left looking visibly uncomfortable by her remarks, Sirleaf told the Guardian: "We've got certain traditional values in our society that we would like to preserve."

Liberian legislation classes "voluntary sodomy" as a misdemeanour punishable by up to one year in prison, but two new bills have been proposed that would target homosexuality with much tougher sentences.

Blair, on a visit to Liberia in his capacity as the founder of the Africa Governance Initiative (AGI), a charity that aims to strengthen African governments, refused to comment on Sirleaf's remarks.

When asked whether good governance and human rights went hand in hand, the British former prime minister said: "I'm not giving you an answer on it."

"One of the advantages of doing what I do now is I can choose the issues I get into and the issues I don't. For us, the priorities are around power, roads, jobs delivery," he said.

With Sirleaf sitting to his left, Blair refused to give any advice on gay rights reforms. He let out a stifled chuckle after Sirleaf interrupted him to make it clear that Blair and his staff were only allowed to do what she said they could. "AGI Liberia has specific terms of reference…that's all we require of them," she said, crossing her arms and leaning back.

Yet again, Brave Sir Tony finds himself unfairly suffering the blowback of an American's cowboy antics, this time those of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose boss won the Noble Prize for Drone Murder Peace: 

The gay rights debate erupted in Liberia after Clinton announced in December that America's foreign aid budget would promote the protection of gay rights, prompting speculation that funds would be tied to rights records.

The announcement brought unprecedented attention to homosexuality in a country where until recently gay people and lesbians lived in secret, but generally not in fear for their lives. Since Clinton's remarks, Liberian newspapers have published numerous articles and editorials describing homosexuality as "desecrating", "abusive" and an "abomination."

Many news cycles ago, when Rick Perry slammed the Obama administration for supporting special rights for foreign gays (such as the right not to be executed for liking people with similar private parts), Jacob Sullum wrote: "If it were up to me, the foreign aid budget would start at zero and stay there. But whether or not it is a justifiable use of taxpayers' money, Obama's initiative is not about 'promoting a lifestyle' or 'promoting special rights for gays'—unless you think life and liberty are special rights."