Archbishop Desmond Tutu has made a powerful appeal for LGBT equality in Africa in an op-ed piece published on Friday in The Washington Post, noting that “our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear”.

Stating that “hate has no place in the house of God,” the Nobel peace prize laureate says that while for many years South African and the world opposed apartheid, now “it is time to stand up against another wrong”.

Tutu bemoans the jailing of a gay couple in Malawi, the imprisonment of gay people in Senegal, the recent mob attack in Kenya on people suspected of being gay, and the proposed anti-gay legislation before Uganda’s parliament.

“A wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent” and “these are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa,” he says in the article.

“Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. And of course they are part of the African family,” writes Tutu.

” Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.”

Tutu, described by some as “South Africa’s moral conscience,” has long publicly supported equality for LGBT people. In 2008 he was honoured by the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission for his efforts to combat homophobia.

Read Tutu’s opinion piece in full here.

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