The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Archbishop of York John Sentamu have published an open letter to Nigeria and Uganda asking them to reconsider their controversial anti-gay laws.
Nigeria recently implemented a new, extremely harsh anti-gay law, which criminalizes same-sex marriage, gay groups, and public displays of same-sex affection.
Although currently blocked by President Museveni, Uganda is attempting to pass a law enforcing up to life imprisonment for “aggravated homosexuality” as well as jail time for those who fail to report homosexuals. Though the law is not currently in effect, homosexual activity is already punishable by up to fourteen years in jail.
In the letter, the archbishops refer to the Dromantine Communique, published in 2005 by the primates of the Anglican Communion, which says “We wish to make it quite clear that in our discussion and assessment of moral appropriateness of specific human behaviours, we continue unreservedly to be committed to the pastoral support and care of homosexual people.
“The victimisation or diminishment of human beings whose affections happen to be ordered towards people of the same sex is anathema to us.
“We assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by Him and deserving the best we can give – pastoral care and friendship.”
Their decision to write the letter was sent after being continually asked what they thought on the current laws punishing gay people.
The letter is also addressed to all the heads of national churches in the Anglican Communion.