The ruling Peopleâ€™s Party (PP) says it is cruel for government to be sending people to jail for unnatural acts.
The partyâ€™s stand comes in the wake of a barrage of criticism it has received after President Joyce Bandaâ€™s address last Friday when she opened Parliament.
The President said her administration was going to repeal all bad laws, including provisions on indecent practices and unnatural acts that criminalise same-sex relationships.
The Catholic Church and some opposition parties have since warned Banda, saying the proposed repeal of the law on same sex would be self-destructive.
But PPâ€™s deputy publicity secretary Ken Msonda said his party is in support of the repeal, arguing it is cruel for any government to be sending its people to jail for unnatural acts.
Said Msonda: â€œThe Peopleâ€™s Party will stand up and speak against all forms of discrimination, which our Constitution prohibits.
â€œThe PP administration under the leadership of Her Excellency Mrs. Joyce Banda shall not entertain or accommodate such bad laws, laws that divide us as a nation. We need to move forward. What do we lose as a nation if we tolerate some people that act [differently]? We have a lot to worry about than this.â€
But the Catholic Churchâ€™s Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) secretary general Father George Buleya in an interview this week warned that any government that proposes legalising of same-sex marriages is destroying itself.
Buleya said the Catholic Church holds that same-sex unions are a grave moral disorder as they do not reflect the divine plan of the life-giving union of people of the opposite sex.
He said providing a basic plan for understanding this issue is the biblical theology of creation found in the book of Genesis. He said in Genesis 1 and 2, God, in his infinite wisdom and love, brings into existence all reality as a reflection of his goodness.
Said Buleya: â€œGod fashioned mankind, male and female, in his own image and likeness. Human beings, therefore, are nothing less than the work of God himself; and in the [complementation] of the sexes, they are called upon to reflect on the inner unity of the Creator.â€
Asked if the Catholic Church really wanted government to criminalise sins, Buleya said there are already sins that have received a civil criminal framework such as stealing.
He said an ideal situation would be where the parameters of what is right and wrong from a moral/religious perspective, would find their expression in what is right and wrong, criminal and not criminal in the legal framework of the country as well.
He said while it was the Churchâ€™s role to preach to people about the evils of homosexuality, the danger was once the same-sex law is decriminalised, it would be viewed as moral in the eyes of many.
Buleya asked government to move with the people and pay attention to the voices emerging, arguing there are no grounds so far for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to Godâ€™s plan for marriage and family.
But Msonda said faith leaders must assist government by preaching to these people that act unnaturally, than to leave it to government to incarcerate them for committing a sin.
He also downplayed the warning that PP is on a self-destructive mode, arguing it was such liberal approach to issues that was making the party more popular and attractive.
Opposition UDF vice-president Humphrey Mvula said it was unfortunate the matter was being discussed before the bill is out for scrutiny to understand the underlying issues.
Said Mvula: â€œAs UDF and as an individual, we donâ€™t believe that the bill is promoting or legalising same-sex marriages or any man to man or woman to woman relationship. If that is the case, then we say no to that because the society is not ready for that.
â€œBut if the bill aims at fighting against discrimination of minorities and preventing government from criminalising minority issues, then the next problem is that the bill will require that our moral leaders, the Church and chiefs must engage in massive civic education.â€
Peopleâ€™s Progressive Movement (PPM) spokesperson Redson Munlo said the President was shooting herself in the foot if she goes ahead to push for repeal of the same-sex law because it is clear Malawians are not ready for this.
Munlo said: â€œI am afraid this can be her highway to an early downfall. This is an emotive issue and she must tread very carefully; otherwise, this will be destructive to her government. As government, it has a responsibility to protect the society from harmful acts.â€
The opposition Peopleâ€™s Transformation (Petra) was the first to condemn Bandaâ€™s proposal to have the law reviewed.
Petra president Kamuzu Chibambo said the practice was unacceptable and ought not to be decriminalised.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General Ralph Kasambara said in an interview that what the President did was to open and encourage a healthy debate. Kasambara said the bill has not been drafted yet.
He said if drafted, the bill would be debated by Parliament from an informed position after the debate. He, however, said it would be pointless for government to go ahead arresting suspected gays and lesbians when a law that criminalises same sex relationships is being considered for review.