The Kenyan high court has upheld laws banning homosexuality, stating that same-sex marriage remains unconstitutional in the country.
The court in a much-awaited verdict, refused to scrap laws criminalising homosexuality. Presiding judge Roselyne Aburili said;
“We find the impugned sections (of the penal code) are not unconstitutional. We hereby decline the relief sought and dismiss the consolidated petition.”
Gay rights organisations asked the court to scrap two sections of the penal code that criminalise homosexuality.
One section states that anyone who has “carnal knowledge… against the order of nature” can be imprisoned for 14 years.
Another provides for a five-year jail term for “indecent practices between males”.
In a remark prompting gasps and mutters from the packed courtroom, she said there was “no conclusive scientific proof that LGBTQ people are born that way”.
It is not clear whether there have ever been any convictions for gay sex in Kenya.
But Kenya’s National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) had pushed for the law to be scrapped, arguing that it gave rise to a climate of homophobia.
The law is specific to men but activists say that lesbian, bi, trans and non-binary voices are also affected.
“The general public doesn’t know that the law only applies to male relationships,” says Njeri Gateru, a co-founder of the (NGLHRC).
“They include other sexual minorities in their prejudice.”