Landmark Case Could Legalize Homosexuality In Kenya

Same-sex relations are currently punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Kenya’s High Court is preparing to rule on a case that could overturn the country’s ban on homosexuality, which is currently punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) and other groups have petitioned the court to repeal sections of Section 162 of the Kenyan Penal Code, a holdover from British colonial rule.

Nearly 600 people have been prosecuted under Section 162 between 2010 and early 2014, according to government reports. The law also allows harassment, discrimination and violence against LGBT Kenyans to continue unfettered.

In 2016, a Kenyan judge ruled that the use of anal examinations to determine if a suspect is gay are legal, despite complaints that they amount to torture.

“If the law is repealed, people will be able to fight from a point of legal confidence,” NGLHRC director Eric Gitari told Reuters.

But attorneys for the government maintain that decriminalization of homosexuality would lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage. “There is a legitimate expectation some of those unions might end up in marriage,” said Jennifer Gitiri, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office. “In the event that would happen, it would be a violation of the constitution.”

On Thursday, the High Court said it that it would announce the date of its ruling on April 26.

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