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Kenya's High Court Postpones Ruling On Decriminalizing Homosexuality

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Africa | Kenya February 22, 2019

The High Court of Kenya in Nairobi on February 22, 2019 postponed to May 24, 2019 a ruling on whether to repeal sections of the country's penal code that make gay sex illegal, reported some media. The court said it needs more time to reach a verdict on the matter. The delayed verdict by the High Court is in response to petitions from some human rights groups that oppose Kenya's legal provisions for criminalizing homosexuality.

Homosexuality is illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Because of that, abusers of gays and lesbians in the country reportedly get away with their crime, as the latter refrain from reporting abuse to police fearing the information they may provide in connection with abuse may reveal their homosexuality hence leading to themselves been arrested instead of the abusers.

Draconian laws that criminalize homosexuality are common place in Africa except South Africa and Angola. In many countries, the laws were inherited from former colonial administrations, after the countries got independence. While there is ample linguistic evidence that suggests clearly existence of homosexuals in pre-colonial Africa, post-colonial Africa often go about dismissing the fact, instead blaming the lifestyle on external influences.

Albeit homosexuality as personal choice and decision may be perceived as immoral by many in Africa, those making such choice and decision as part of their individual freedom do not harm or deter individual freedom of others. It is within this context that homosexuals should be respected and treated like everybody else in all countries. As Pope Francis said when responding to journalists' request for his views about gays, on a flight from Brazil on July 29, 2013, and we quote partly:

"If a person is gay........who am I to judge?"

He also emphasized then that gays should not be marginalized but integrated into society.

The stance of the Pope is expected to become a game changer in the way Christians view homosexuals in their countries, except probably in Africa.


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