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South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he'd be damned — literally — before he'd worship a "homophobic" God.
South Africa's Archbishop Desmond Tutu on Friday said he'd rather go to "the other place" than worship a "homophobic" God, according to BBC News.
The Nobel peace laurete's comments came during the Friday launch of "Free & Equal," the United Nation's (UN) first global public education campaign on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Violence toward these communities is relatively common in South Africa, even though same-sex partnerships have been legalized, said the BBC.
An anti-apartheid hero in South Africa, Tutu told listeners in Cape Town: "I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid," reported Al Jazeera.
Tutu retired as archbishop of Cape Town in 1996 and is 81 years old, said the BBC. Death is not the faraway abstraction for him that it is for the young. Even so, "I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven," he earlier said, according to Al Jazeera. "No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place."
"I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this," he said.
Same-sex partnerships are illegal in one-third of the world and punishable by death in five nations, according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, said Agence-France Press.
Even nations that allow it have a long way to go in terms of providing adequate legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered communities. In some countries, meanwhile, violence against them has been on the rise.
"Recent years have seen increasing reports of people being harassed, marginalized, discriminated against and attacked because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity" in sub-Saharan Africa, where same-sex activities are considered criminal in 38 African countries, according to Amnesty International.
In South Africa last month, a lesbian died after being sexually assaulted with a toilet brush, said AFP. As Pillay put it: "People are literally paying for their love with their lives."