Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

There are reports that Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will veto an anti-gay bill recently introduced into parliament, if it is passed.

The proposed legislation, which aims to increase the penalties for homosexuality to up to ten years in jail and to ban same-sex marriage in Liberia, was introduced by Senator Jewel Howard Taylor, who is the country’s former first lady.

Both male and female same-sex sexual relationships are already illegal in Liberia, with penalties including a fine or up to a year in prison.

If passed by parliament, the bill would need to be signed into law by President Sirleaf, who was awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the Associated Press, however, Sirleaf “has said she will not sign any such bill into law”.

Taylor has dismissed the furore around the bill, saying: ”We are only strengthening the existing law.”

Her former husband, and the country’s former president, Charles Taylor, is being tried for war crimes at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

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