Court Order - Judge Judgement

Kenya’s High Court on Friday upheld sections of the penal code that criminalize same-sex relations, a disappointment for gay rights activists across Africa where dozens of countries have similar laws. The judges’ unanimous ruling in the closely watched case was followed by activists’ vows to appeal. Many in Kenya’s vibrant gay community had hoped the court would make history by scrapping the British colonial-era laws and inspiring other countries in Africa to do the same. Activists argue that the laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations between adults are in breach of the constitution because they deny basic rights. The state should not regulate intimacy between gay couples, they say. One law punishes “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and prescribes up to 14 years in prison for people convicted of homosexual acts. Another says “indecent practices between males” can bring up to five years in prison. The laws create an environment of fear and harassment even if they are not always enforced, activists say. “The issue is violence, discrimination and oppression,” one activist, Tirop Salat, said. The judges, however, said the petitioners had failed to prove how the laws violated their right to health, dignity and privacy and said the laws do not single out gay people. Kenya has no social pressure to legalize homosexuality, they added. “Acknowledging cohabitation among people of the same sex, where they would ostensibly be able to have same-sex intercourse, would indirectly open the door for (marriage) of people of the same sex,” said the…

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