A gay couple has been arrested in Malawi after taking part in a symbolic wedding ceremony on Saturday, the BBC reported. The men, Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, were arrested on Monday and charged with public indecency, police said Tuesday.

The AFP reported that hundreds of people attended the couple's wedding, believed to be the first in the country.

“I went there to see for myself a gay couple,” Finiasi Chikaoneka told the news service.

“There were many people who were just curious about the whole affair because this was the first time that gays have come out openly,” he added.

Being gay is illegal in Malawi and punishable with up to 14 years in jail.

Anti-gay sentiment in Africa has risen to dramatic new highs in recent years, prompting lawmakers to press for stronger punishments against being gay. A proposed law in Uganda widely expected to be approved in February would outlaw gay sex and includes a death provision for repeat offenders and people who are HIV-positive, increasing the penalties for having gay sex in a country where it's already banned. The bill also makes the “promotion of homosexuality” illegal, which would effectively ban political organizations, broadcasters and publishers that advocate on behalf of gay rights, and turn friends and family members of gay men and lesbians into criminals if they fail to report a violation.

Uganda's anti-gay bill has drawn worldwide outrage.

The men are being held in separate cells, where they will remain until a court appearance next Monday, police said.