News Brief: The Kenyan High Court is Considering the Decriminalization of Homosexuality

by Aaron Shepard
in News
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News Brief Kenyan High Court Considering the Decriminalization of Homosexuality

News Brief Kenyan High Court Considering the Decriminalization of Homosexuality

News Brief:  The Kenyan High Court is Considering the Decriminalization of Homosexuality

Although it is now legal to have same-sex relations in the UK, its anti-gay heritage has continued to affect post-colonial countries like Kenya, where being gay can land you up to fourteen years in prison, since its inclusion in the penal code in 1897.  But as a landmark case comes to court after a two-year battle, the Kenyan High Court is debating whether or not to legalize same-sex relations.

The case, which was first filed in 2016, aims to challenge the discriminatory sections in the Kenyan Penal Code that criminalize same-sex relations between adults.

Filed on Thursday, a group of human rights lawyers under the organization the Kenyan National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission (NGLHRC) has argued against the sections of the Kenyan Penal Code that criminalize consensual same sex relations between adults.  They now await a decision by a group of the highest judges in the country on the decriminalization of homosexuality.

“The ruling is important because the continued existence of laws that criminalize consensual same sex relations in Kenya allow for the continued discrimination, harassment and violence of the LGBT community.  Laws like this label the LGBT community as criminals, when in fact they are not,” said said Kari Mugo, the Operations Manager of NGLHRC.

The group has argued, in a comprehensive document that is thousands of pages long, that the criminalization of same-sex relations is against the country’s constitution, which was introduced in 2010.

“In 2010, Kenya promulgated a beautiful constitution that ushered in a new era for its people, this constitution represents the will of the people to live in a fair, just, and free country,” said Mugo.

If the ruling goes ahead, Kenya will become the first East African country to decriminalize homosexuality.