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High Court set to rule on legalising gay marriages

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Members of the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) are on the edge of their seats as they await a high court’s ruling that could make history in Kenya. Over 70 countries are yet to decriminalise same sex marriages, half of which are African.

The charity has put in great efforts to see that sexual minorities in Kenya get their rights and the case can be decided either way. Even though it has been previously said that Kenya is not ready for such changes, we may have to brace ourselves to accept the changes if the court rules in favor of the sexual minorities.

The entire African continent is following the case closely as it is seen as the gate pass to other African countries legalizing gay marriages too. According to members of the charity, the case is seen as an opportunity for them to continue championing for the same in African countries to avoid persecution and discrimination of sexual minorities.

“People across the continent are watching the Kenyan case very closely,” said Anthony Oluoch from Pan Africa ILGA, a global charity advocating for the rights of sexual minorities. “There are laws in many African countries that criminalize same-sex relationships, so if we get a positive ruling in Kenya it will give hope to the continent.”

If NGLHRC wins the case, Kenya will become the second country to legalize gay sex in Africa after South Africa. The court case however is on the amendment of one section of the constitution which does not just cover on gay sex but prohibits any sexual activity that is against the order of nature. In simple terms the law prohibits the forms of sexual activity many regard as foreplay which has been illegal all this time.

Having fought a number of cases of abuse against sexual minorities, the charity could turn out victorious in the case whose ruling is scheduled for Friday.

The world now seems to be home with the idea of people of the same gender marrying each other because the act has been considered natural. For a conservative country like Kenya though, it might be a shock to many if gay marriages will be legalized. If not being challenged by christian leaders, the sexual minorities are more likely to face wars from Kenyans who have been raised to despise these marriages.

Under sections of Kenya’s penal code, gay sex – or “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” – is punishable by up to 14 years in jail.

As the majority of the world is okay with gay marriages, it appears to be a violation of human rights when you jail someone for 14 years because of that. Well, those who are against homosexuality despise the gays and could easily deliver a punishment worse than the 14 year jail term if given the chance.

Read: Another hard blow to striking nurses

If the case is lost, you can bet the charities championing for human rights won’t  rest until the laws allow the sexual minorities to interact freely.

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Kevin Namunwa
Kevin Namunwahttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
Kevin Namunwa is a senior reporter for Business Today. Email at [email protected].
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