Kenya’s High Court is to rule on Friday whether to decriminalise gay sex. The court’s verdict could make history if it decides to scrap the law which makes homosexuality illegal and dates back to British colonialism.
Culturally homosexuality is a taboo issue in the East African country and is punishable under Kenya’s penal code by up to 14 years in jail, the East African reported.
As the countdown draws closer, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), which is one of the groups petitioning the court on the issue is quietly optimistic. The organisation has fought hundreds of cases of sexual minorities in Kenya’s courts, but the verdict on Friday is their most eagerly anticipated case.
“A positive ruling will mean sexual minorities in Kenya will have the freedom to exist. It will be a step toward their inclusion in society. We feel we have a very solid case,” said Lelei Cheruto from NGLHRC.
Campaigners allege the laws in the conservative Christian country have strengthened homophobia towards sexual minorities who face prejudice in getting jobs, renting homes and seeking medical treatment.
A positive judgment would not only give rights and dignity to sexual minorities in Kenya, say campaigners, but will inject impetus into battles being waged by persecuted LGBT and people Africa-wide.
Homosexuality is a crime in 70 countries in the world, most of them in Africa. South Africa is the only African nation to have legalised gay marriage.