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Kenya’s High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay Sex

by : L'Oreal Blackett on : 25 May 2019 16:51
Kenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexKenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexPA Images

Kenyan officials have rejected a petition calling to scrap a law banning gay sex.

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As of Friday 24 May, same-sex relationships will continue to carry a consequence of up to 14 years in prison in the East African country.

The Kenyan high court ruled to uphold the controversial legislation on grounds that gay sex ‘clashed’ with the country’s ‘broader, traditional moral values’.

Kenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexKenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexPA Images

‘We hereby decline the relief sought and dismiss the combined petition,’ said Justice Roselyn Aburili to the courtroom in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, sparking tears from campaigners.

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The unanimous verdict did come with its supporters. Reuters reports some courtroom attendees ‘congratulated each other’ and yelled ‘thank you’ at the judges’ bench.

Homosexuality has long been a taboo subject in Kenya, a largely religious country of both Muslim and Christian faiths, with many senior representatives fearing decriminalising gay sex could lead to more ‘same-sex unions.’

One senior official, Deputy President William Ruto, reportedly stated Kenya had ‘no room’ for gays.

Kenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexKenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexPA

Naturally, the verdict is a huge disappointment for Kenya’s LGBT and Human Rights activists who launched the petition in the hope to guarantee ‘equality, dignity, and privacy for all citizens’.

‘We will appeal,’ said Eric Gitari, one of the petitioners, ‘we expect that the court of appeal will overturn this erroneous decision which in our view is very biased.’

The ruling will likely mean more arrests for Kenya’s LGBT community. Reportedly ‘Kenya arrested 534 people for same-sex relationships between 2013 and 2017′.

Safety of the country’s gay and lesbian residents is also a concern for U.N activists, who believe the ruling ‘encourages hostility and even violence against LGBT individuals.’

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Kenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexKenya's High Court Unanimously Upholds Ban On Gay SexPA Images

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, one of the petitioners against the law, recorded ‘more than 1,500 such attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Kenyans since 2014’.

Kenya remains one of 70 countries worldwide that chooses to criminalize homosexuality.

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L'Oreal Blackett

L'Oréal Blackett is a freelance journalist, broadcaster, and presenter with a lot of hair and a lot to say. A former digital magazine editor covering women's issues and local news, she now works for a range of media publications including BBC Radio Manchester, Bumble and of course, UNILAD.

Topics: News, Africa, Gay Rights, Kenya, LGBTQ+

Credits

Reuters
  1. Reuters

    Kenya's high court unanimously upholds ban on gay sex