NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenya’s excessive courtroom on Friday upheld a regulation banning homosexual intercourse, maintaining similar intercourse relations punishable by 14 years in jail within the conservative East African nation.
Identical-sex relationships are against the law in additional than 70 international locations around the globe, virtually half of them in Africa. South Africa is the one African nation to have legalized homosexual marriage.
“We hereby decline the aid sought and dismiss the mixed petition,” Justice Roselyn Aburili advised a packed courtroom in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, relaying the unanimous opinion of the three-justice panel.
“We discover that the impugned sections should not unconstitutional, accordingly the mixed petitions haven’t any benefit.”
Campaigners who filed the petition to decriminalize homosexual intercourse argued that the regulation violates Kenya’s progressive 2010 structure, which ensures equality, dignity and privateness for all residents.
“We are going to attraction. We anticipate that the courtroom of attraction will overturn this misguided determination which in our view could be very biased,” mentioned Eric Gitari, one of many petitioners.
The justices, who started listening to the case final yr, threw out the petition, saying the ban on homosexual intercourse dovetailed with broader, conventional ethical values encapsulated in Kenya’s structure.
Some homosexual rights activists wept exterior the courtroom after the decision whereas supporters of the ban clapped, congratulated one another and yelled “thanks” to the judges’ bench.
Aburili mentioned the structure nonetheless outlaws same-sex marriage however permitting homosexual intercourse would “open the door for similar intercourse unions.”
“We can’t be one other Sodom and Gomorrah,” Alfred Rotich, a Catholic bishop, advised Reuters on the courtroom after the decision.
In September final yr, India’s high courtroom scrapped an analogous colonial-era regulation that punished homosexual intercourse with as much as 10 years in jail, elevating hopes amongst activists worldwide, together with in Africa, for comparable reforms elsewhere.
Because of a scarcity of authorized safety, rights campaigners in Kenya say sexual minorities are routinely abused, assaulted by mobs, raped by vigilantes or enslaved by criminals.