The Liberian Senate [official website] on Thursday approved a bill that prohibits same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] in the West African nation. The bill, sponsored by Senator Jewel Howard Taylor [official profile], makes same-sex marriage a second degree felony [New Dawn report] subject to a fine or a short term of imprisonment. Senator Joseph Nagbe [official profile], who supported the bill, warned same-sex couples who visit Liberia to "stay away from each other until your departure." The bill will now go to the House of Representatives [official website]. If the House passes the bill, it will go to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf [official profile] for approval.
Homosexuality and same-sex marriage are controversial in many African countries, with many African nations outlawing homosexuality. Uganda [JURIST report] has recently come under fire for proposing legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by death. In January UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] said Africa must honor the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [text] by ending discrimination [JURIST report] based on sexual orientation and gender identity.