- It would be unconstitutional to limit the right to associate through denial of registration of an association purely based on the sexual orientation.
- Attorney General promises to challenge the ruling at the highest court.
- The local clergy called on Christians and all Kenyans to reject the ruling.
Kenya’s Speaker of the National Assembly, Moses Wetangula denounced a recent Supreme Court ruling allowing the LGBTQ|+ community to fraternize in the quest for their recognition.
The Supreme Court has upheld the right of the LGBTQ+ community to form a lobby group, but according to Wetangula, although Kenya is secular, it is very religious, and it is therefore up to the apex court in the country to defend “public morality”.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer persons in their quest to officially register as a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO).
In its verdict delivered by a five-judge bench on Friday, the court castigated the NGO’s coordination board for refusing to register four names for an LGBTQ organisation on the ground that same-sex marriage is outlawed in Kenya.
The court determined that using the word “sex” under Article 27(4) does not connote the act of sex per se but refers to the sexual orientation of any gender, whether heterosexual, lesbian, gay, intersex or otherwise.
The NGO board through its executive director had declined to approve four of the proposed names. The verdict was a culmination of a protracted case dating back to 2019. LGBTQ activists petitioned the High Court to challenge the NGO board’s decision to turn down their application to register the organisation.
In the initial ruling, the High Court judge backed the activists and found that the NGO board’s refusal violated the applicant’s rights. This led to an appeal by the board at the Supreme Court to reverse the ruling. However, the Supreme court confirmed the lower court’s ruling.
Extracts from the Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court in its ruling, stated: “Despite gayism being illegal (in Kenya), they have a right of association.”
LGBTQ is now a legal entity and can operate at will after registration. Hence, the refusal to register them was discriminatory and contravened the law.
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, the ruling read.
The Friday ruling paves way for the LGBTQ organisation to lodge a fresh application in its quest to formalise its operation
Attorney General promises to challenge the ruling
Meanwhile, the Attorney General had already promised to challenge the Supreme Court’s ruling, saying that the issue was not a matter for the corridors of justice, but for public consultation.
The ruling also caused a storm in evangelical circles, including the Nairobi-based CITAM church. On Sunday, through its bishop, it described the court’s decision as “contradictory” because it went against “cultural norms”.
The local clergy called on Christians and all Kenyans to reject the ruling.
Homosexuality remains criminalised in Kenya. Even today, those convicted of homosexuality in Kenya face up to 14 years in prison.
Same sex marriages are generally illegal in most African states judging on cultural and religious grounds and Kenya is no exception. African heads of state have been cornered by various Western lobby groups and interviewers to at least endorse the idea but to no avail.
In 2022, during an interview with CNN news anchor Christiane Amanpour, President Ruto emphasized that, “Gay rights are of no importance in Kenya…” In similar fashion, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni passed an anti-gay bill into law that includes life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriages.