Malawi seems to have paved the way for the discussion of legalizing same sex marriage within the South African state with the passing of the new law that sees the new age limit for marriage set at 18. Before this law was passed, the constitution of Malawi allowed for people between 15-18 to be joined in marriage with parental consent but also did not specifically protect anyone below 15 from early marriage.
With this bill officially passed into law, LGBTI activists are now at the forefront putting the Malawi government on thee spot. The activists are questioning why their rights are still being marginalized yet they are permitting children to get married.
The activists are further calling upon the government to take steps to repeal provisions of the marriage act that discriminates against LGBTI people, by not recognizing any legal unions of same sex and tans marriages.
The constitution of Malawi defines sex as the ‘the sex of a person at birth’, a definition that narrows gender identity and denies both trans and same marriages. The LGBTI activists also argue the government is denying the reality that same sex and trans relationships exist in the country and need to be formalized.
A report conducted in October 2014 showed that incidents of homophobic attacks had greatly increased. The report attributed this to the laws that continue to classify gay people as second-class citizens based on their gender identity or sexual orientation.
However, unlike most African states, Malawi took steps in July 2014 forbidding public arrests of LGBTI people, although this caused a stronger homophobic sphere within the greatly cultural country.