NAIROBI – Three lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights groups in Kenya on Thursday began the legal battle in the country’s High Court to overturn current legislation that criminalizes sexual relationships between people of the same sex, especially men.
Several statutes in the Kenyan penal code of 1930 describe consensual same-sex relationships as unnatural offenses and gross indecency, which can carry prison sentences of up to 14 years, a set of laws that the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya and the Nyanza Rift Valley and Western Kenya LGBTI Coalition (NYARWEK) aim to overturn in court.
“We have a constitution that carries the will of the Kenyan people and that says no one should be discriminated against, yet these laws do just that,” said Eric Gitari, executive director of the NGLHRC, in statements shared by the group on Thursday.
The NGLHRC, which was formed by lawyers to protect LGBT rights in Kenya, says it has received over 1,000 complaints from community members denouncing crimes such as homicide, group violence, rape, blackmail and extortion.
The petition is to be heard by the court throughout Thursday and Friday.