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Why govt still opposes legalising gay relations in Kenya

By MAUREEN KAKAH February 23rd, 2018 1 min read

The State has opposed a bid to have consensual same-sex relations between adults legalised.

In filed case documents, the State, through the Attorney-General told court that it should be guided by the country’s values and in particular its conservatism in sexual matters.

“It is not the function of this court to seek to modernize the social values of the State or society at large, basing on the fact that Kenya is a State which is conservative on matters of sexual morality, this court should not be misguided to interpret disputed constitutional provisions,” said lawyer Jennifer Gitari for the AG.

The court was told that as per the Constitution, Kenya recognizes marriage as between man and woman.

The National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission through its executive director Eric Gitari filed a suit two years ago challenging two sections of the Constitution which criminalise consensual same-sex relations between adults.


In its case, the group claims Sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code are discriminatory and contravene provisions of the Constitution such as right to equality, freedom from discrimination, human dignity, security of the person and right to privacy.

According to the group, their case has got nothing to do with same-sex marriage, does not seek its legislation and would not, if they win the suit, have effect of requiring Kenya to recognize such a union.

However the AG dismissed their claims saying that they needed proof of sufficient public participation and approval as well as social justice besides national values, to seek an interpretation to decriminalise the disputed sections of the law.

Dr Lukoye Atwoli also appeared as an expert witness of the group while Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata was enjoined as an interested party.