Cardinal Peter Turkson, Possible Pope Successor, Has Defended Legislation Like Uganda's 'Kill The Gays' Bill

Possible Pope Successor Has Defended Anti-Gay Legislation

GayStarNews notes that Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, of Ghana is a supporter of homophobic legislation and has defended Africa's anti-gay laws on the basis of African culture.

Turkson claimed during a United Nations summit last February that such laws could be permissible in society because the "intensity of the reaction is probably commensurate with tradition," according to the National Catholic Register. “Just as there’s a sense of a call for rights, there’s also a call to respect culture, of all kinds of people,” he said when discussing the stigma surrounding homosexuality in Africa. “So, if it’s being stigmatized, in fairness, it’s probably right to find out why it is being stigmatized.”

Turkson also criticized U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has called for Africa to decriminalize homosexuality and end discrimination based on sexual orientation. "When you’re talking about what’s called ‘an alternative lifestyle,’ are those human rights?” said Turkson, according to NCR. “He [Ban Ki-moon] needs to recognize there’s a subtle distinction between morality and human rights, and that’s what needs to be clarified.”

Uganda's "Kill the Gays" bill, which would make gay relations punishable by death, might be one of the most contested pieces of proposed legislation, but it doesn't stand alone. Homosexuality is criminalized in 37 African countries.

Turkson has also defended Benedict's opinion that condoms should not be the solution to HIV/AIDS. In 2009, the Ghanaian cardinal claimed condoms have given Africans a false sense of security and are "helping the disease spread." He has advocated on behalf of abstinence and fidelity, according to the Guardian.

In an interview with the Telegraph on Tuesday, Turkson, who is president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, took a conservative stance on same-sex marriage. "We need to find ways of dealing with the challenges coming up from society and culture," he told the Telegraph. He also said he believes the Catholic Church must "evangelize," or convert, those with "alternative lifestyles, trends or gender issues."

[Hat tip, Queerty for the find.]

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