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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Kenya’s LGBTQ+ Population Achieves a Bittersweet Victory

The LGBTQ+ community has won a victory at the end of a ten-year legal battle

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KENYA: The Kenyan Supreme Court has criticized the government for refusing to register an organization for LGBTQ+ individuals, claiming that this action violates the community’s civil rights.

The court decided that everyone has the right to association, even though same-sex partnerships are still prohibited in Kenya. The LGBTQ+ community has won a victory at the end of a ten-year legal battle.

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By not registering any of the six names suggested by community members, including the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council, the non-governmental coordination board discriminated and broke the community’s constitutional right to come together, the court ruled in a majority decision.

The government agency said that allowing registration would go against laws that make gay and lesbian unions illegal in the country. For example, a British colonial law says that anyone found guilty of homosexual acts gets a 14-year sentence.

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The most vocal critics of the decision have been conservative politicians and evangelical churches.For the past week, the hashtag #SayNoToLGBTQinKENYA has been getting a lot of attention. In a statement to the media, Christ is the Answer Ministries’ presiding bishop Calisto Odede warned that the decision might give “other illegal practitioners, like paedophiles and those engaged in incest,” the confidence to pursue their own forms of association.

Peter Kaluma, a member of parliament who is part of the opposition, said he would bring a bill to parliament that would make it illegal to be gay and give harsher punishments, like life in prison, to those who were gay.

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The decision will be a mixed win for Kenya’s LGBTQ+ community, whose members have been hurt by violence, being left out, and being harassed.The corpse of fashion designer and LGBTQ+ rights advocate Edwin Chiloba, 25, was discovered in a metal box on the side of a road close to the Rift Valley town of Eldoret on January 4.

The attorney general of Kenya says that the government will challenge the highest court’s decision. He says that the matter should be settled through public debate instead of legal proceedings.

Also Read: Japanese Prime Minister Fires Aide for “Outrageous” Anti-LGBTQ+ Remarks

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