Religious leaders have called on Ethiopia’s government to amend the country’s constitution to include a ban on homosexuality, report the AFP news service.

The call came in the form of a resolution passed at a December 2008 meeting of clerics from various denominations; including the Roman Catholic, Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestant churches.

The resolution urges “…parliamentarians to… endorse a ban on homosexuality in the constitution.”

Abune Paolos, the head of Ethiopia’s Orthodox Church – one of the country’s most influential churches – told reporters that homosexuals should not be tolerated.

“For people to act in this manner they have to be dumb, stupid like animals. We strongly condemn this behaviour, they have to be disciplined and their acts discriminated, they have to be taught a lesson.”

The Ethiopian constitution makes no reference to homosexuality but, according to the UK government travel advisory for the country, under Ethiopian law male homosexual acts carry a penalty of up to five years.

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