In the most anticipated ruling yet, the High Court of Kenya has unanimously dismissed the petition filed by LGBT+ activist Eric Gitari on behalf of National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) in 2016.
In dismissing the petition which sought to have the court declare sections 162 (a) and (c), section 163 and section 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code unconstitutional on the grounds that they lead to discrimination against same-sex relations, the three-judge bench comprising Justices Chacha Mwita, John Mativo and Roselyne Aburili JJJ stated as follows:
[C]ultural values must be respected....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 unions (marriages) of people of the same sex,” Justice Aburili said, while reading the unanimous judgement.
The Judges further cautioned that:
[A]ny interpretation by the petitioners should not exclude our cultural values and principles. The Constitution is a point of reference to any ruling or decision by the court.”
The ruling has dealt a big blow to the LGBT+ community in Kenya which was optimistic that the court would find in their favour. We will have to wait and see if they will lodge an appeal against the High Court decision.
Header image credit - The New York Times