The ‘Marriage for All’ bill approved by France on April 23, 2013, allows gay men and women the same rights to get married as heterosexuals. Several months of bitter debates broadcast by Francophone Africa media have brought the subject home to many African countries, leading to interesting reactions.
Several media outlets in Africa have already reported the case of two South African men who married each other in the ‘traditional’ style:
However, in Francophone Africa, where homosexuality is still severely penalised in several countries, this event has not been copied.
In Abidjan, capital of Côte d’Ivoire, there has mostly been a jokey tone to comments. On Facebook people joked about the subject, making allusions to emigration by family regrouping:
“Le Mariage pour tous voté à Paris; Enjaillement [réjouissance] dans certaines rues de Babi. Djo le frère Madou peut venir marier [épouser] son frère ABLO et partir avec lui à Bengue, le frère DIGBEU peut venir épouser son ami SERI et PARIS est gagné…
The Côte d’Ivoire is one of the few countries in the region which does not penalise homosexuality. In a short film on YouTube, several Ivoirian internet users nonetheless underlined their fears and a showed a moderate point of view.
Some Ivoirians expressed their incomprehension of homosexuality and the possible consequences of the legalisation of gay marriage:
@MyMaLuyDealBi : Après ce sera au tour de la polygamie pour tous j’espère. Oui c’est cela aussi le mariage, en France ou ailleurs
Gay people in Africa continue to be subject to violence and are sometimes even in danger of death. Homosexuality is still against the law in nearly 40 African countries, the most aggressively so being Uganda and Liberia.