Supreme Court: Gays and Lesbians have the right of association.
The Supreme Court upheld the right to association for the LGBTQ community, ending a nearly decade-long legal battle. The ruling came after the National Gay and Lesbians Human Rights Commission sought to have a name reserved out of a list for the advancement of their rights.
However, the Non-Governmental Organisation Co-ordination Board rejected the request, leading to a court process that saw the gay rights group battle it out with the board and religious organizations.
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In 2019, the Court of Appeal dismissed the board’s appeal, confirming the right to association for LGBTQ and the NGO board appealed, leading to the recent Supreme Court ruling.
“It would be unconstitutional to limit the right to associate through denial of registration of an association purely based on the sexual orientation of the applicants,” they stated in their rulling.
Two Supreme Court Justices, Mohamed Ibrahim and William Ouko, expressed their dissenting opinion, stating that the formation of recognised associations by homosexuals should not be permitted in Kenya as it contravenes the country’s laws.
“To reserve or register the names proposed by the 1st respondent would have the effect of giving recognition to groups whose declared objects and purposes are contrary to law,” part of their ruling read.
Members of the LGBTQ community in Kenya are now able to seek formal recognition from the Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Board.
The ruling comes at a time when Homa Bay Township MP Peter Kaluma has expressed his intention to introduce a bill in the House that seeks to criminalize and punish homosexuality and other “unnatural” acts, including the promotion of such acts.
“The proposed law intended to further the provisions of article 45 (2) of the constitutin of Kenya and to protect the family will not only consolidate all existing laws relating to unnatural sexual acts but also increase the penalty for those convicted of engaging or promoting the acts to imprisonment for life or commensurate sentence,” Kalama wrote in a letter to National Assembly Speaker Moses Wetangula