South Africa's Nobel peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu says he will never worship a "homophobic God" and will rather go to hell.
The retired archbishop was speaking at the launch of a UN-backed campaign in South Africa to promote gay rights.
Despite same-sex relationships being legal in South Africa, it had some of the worst cases of homophobic violence, UN human rights chief Navi Pillay said.
Archbishop Tutu, 81, is a long-standing campaigner for gay rights.
He retired as Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996, but has remained the moral conscience of the nation, correspondents say.
I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid”
Same-sex relationships are illegal in more than a third of countries around the world and punishable by death in five, Ms Pillay said.
In Africa, homosexual acts are still a crime in 38 countries, according to the rights group Amnesty International.
"I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place," Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town.