In legal battle over gay sex, Kenyan court to consider Indian ruling

Parties involved in a court case seeking to decriminalise gay sex in Kenya will be allowed to make submissions based on a recent decision by India’s top court to overturn a ban on gay sex, a Kenyan court said on Thursday.

India’s top court on September 6 scrapped a colonial-era law that punished gay sex with up to 10 years in jail, raising hopes among activists worldwide, including in Africa, for similar reforms elsewhere.

The constitutional division of Kenya’s High Court will hear submissions from both parties on October 25 on the relevance of India’s decision to Kenya, given that both countries have shared the law – dating back to the days of British colonial rule – that criminalises “sexual acts against the order of nature”.

Homosexuality is taboo across much of Africa and gay people face discrimination or persecution. In Kenya it can lead to a 14-year jail sentence, but in recent years campaigners for lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender (LGBT) rights have become increasingly vocal.

Opponents of decriminalising gay sex in Kenya say India’s decision was flawed and they will ask the Kenyan court to disregard it.

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