Kenya's Supreme Court has released a verdict in favour of the LGBTQ+ community, after a decade-long battle for rights. The top court has condemned the government for its failure to recognise an association for LGBTQ+ people and said that the decision has discriminated against the rights of the community, as per a report by The Guardian. However, same-sex marriage is still not approved under Kenyan law and has been considered illegal. This comes after the decade-long legal battle and a victory for the LGBTQ+ community.
According to the Bishop at the Christ is the Answer Ministries, Calisto Odede, "The ruling could embolden 'other illegal practitioners like pedophiles and those involved in incest' to also have the right of association." Although, “There may be many people who are struggling with different kinds of sexual desires but they have not gone to court for the whole nation to recognise them,” stated the church, while talking about a court ruling that everyone has a right to association. The Kenyan church, which has a huge following in Kenya’s urban areas, has linked the Kenyan supreme court ruling to the recent decision by the Church of England which has welcomed same-sex couples “unreservedly and joyfully”.
After a long battle, the court ruled that everyone has a right to association. However, some concerns have been raised by the government body which states that permitting registration would contravene sections of the country’s penal code that criminalise gay and lesbian unions, reported The Guardian. This would include a British colonial law that imposes a 14-year sentence for anyone convicted of homosexual acts.
“The court was of the view that the (government’s) decision was discriminatory and that it would be unconstitutional to limit the right to associate, through denial of registration of an association, purely on the basis of the sexual orientation of the applicants,” stated the ruling.
Further, it added, "Human rights are inherent and held simply because of being a human. All human beings, including LGBTIQ persons, are entitled to the full enjoyment of all the rights under chapter four of the constitution, not by reason of their sexual preferences as LGBTIQ but as human beings. Just as the rights enjoyed by hetrosexuals are not based on their sexual orientation but by virtue of common humanity."
The court has given its verdict that the non-governmental coordination board has been biased and infringed on the community’s constitutional right to the association by refusing to register any of the six names proposed by the community’s representatives, as per media reports. This includes the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and the Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council.