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Decriminalization of LGBTQ Should Not be Misinterpreted

The nearby objects also receive intense heat. So, let’s play cautiously with the fire of sex.


By Salil Gewali

For scientists their each new day is filled with wonder. It’s no amazement that their pace of understanding a species is way behind with the new creatures they just encounter the next day. Some creatures have eyes on the tail while some breath through their skin. Some never die even if you cut them into half, rather they become two and four! Their behaviors, their survival adventures and their innate instincts are amazingly diversified.

Hence one is too surprised why it took us until 21st century to decriminalize LGBTQ. How do we have authority and competency to see flaw in God creation? Frankly speaking, we have not “fully” understood even one petal of a flower and how and why it comes into being with such beauty, fragrance, shape and size. Therefore, it’s always good on our part to just practice to say “wow” in amazement. That we can start right from each morning when we open our eyes. Because we individuals have not even been able to understand our “own body” and its incredible structures and its endless functions that help keep us hale and hearty.

One wonders how we shall make up to our marginalized LGBTQ folks now!

Therefore, it’s total foolishness to expect others to fit in with our lines of thought and behavioral orientation. Due to the dogmatic rigidity to accept LGBTQ, the creation of God, we have clearly committed a great sin. We have hurt them all through. Not just that, we have belittled their existence on this planet. Ethically, there will not be a greater offence than this. This way we have only challenged the creation of God. One wonders how we shall make up to our marginalized LGBTQ folks now!

 Yes, what happens within the confinement of four-wall is none of anyone’s business. Sex is always private affairs which is, in fact, the culmination of love with mutual submission.  Of course, one has to be careful differentiating between good and bad. True, love has made this world beautiful, nay, livable. Of course, what could be worse is if those private activities are brought to the open for our selfish ends. Then we cannot rule out potential crises so far as healthy co-existence in the society is concerned. Well, if the current media is to be believed then, with LGBTQ decriminalization, it seems, the court has also given “licenses” to entertainment houses to trade on it! This will only contaminate the society. 

pride flag, LGBTQ
The rainbow pride flag of the LGBT community. wikimedia commons

But I’m afraid within the current trend controlled by certain non-spiritual forces, the sensitive thing like sex is reeking to high heaven. In a span of a couple of years we are likely to see movies/features on LGBT flooding the society which are portrayed in such as ways that encourage one to indulge in “unhealthy” acts and thoughts. Is not taking out the burning wood from the “fireplace” and get it around a dangerous practice? That fiery wood in hand can cause other to burn when the embers get fallen down. The nearby objects also receive intense heat. So, let’s play cautiously with the fire of sex. The heat of the fire can burn an object but the heat of sex can burn the very fabric of the society. 

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’.  Twitter: @SGewali.

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Kenya Upholds Laws that Criminalize Same-Sex Relations

In arguments read in court, the three judges stated there was not enough evidence of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community

same-sex relations
An LGBT activist delivers a statement after a ruling by Kenya's high court to uphold a law banning gay sex, at the Milimani high Court in Nairobi, Kenya, May 24, 2019. VOA

Kenya’s high court on Friday upheld laws that criminalize gay sex. The much-anticipated ruling Friday was decided by a three-judge bench on Kenya’s High court in Nairobi.

The laws, sections 162(a) and (c) and 165 of Kenya’s Penal Code, criminalize consensual sexual conduct between two adults of the same sex, an act that as of Friday’s ruling remains punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Justices Roselyn Aburili, Chacha Mwita and John Mativo issued the ruling.

In arguments read in court, the three judges stated there was not enough evidence of discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community.

The judges also argued that decriminalization would open the door for same-sex marriage and said there was no scientific evidence that pointed to LGBTQ persons being born as they are.

same-sex relations
LGBT activists react after a ruling by Kenya’s high court to uphold a law banning gay sex, outside the Milimani high Court in Nairobi, Kenya, May 24, 2019. VOA

Justice Aburili commented for the court panel. “Decriminalizing the impugned provisions would indirectly open the door for unions among persons of the same sex. If this were to be allowed, it would be in direct conflict with article 45 sub article 2 of the constitution. We take this view fully aware of numerous decisions from different foreign jurisdictions, which we have referred to that have decriminalized provisions similar to ours, however persuasive this decisions may be, they are not binding on this court,” Aburili said.

Friday’s ruling is a result of a petition that dates from 2015, when the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC), Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK), and the Nyanza Rift Valley and Western Kenya Network (NYARWEK), all LGBT rights organizations, filed petitions with Kenya’s high court asking it to declare Sections 162 (a) and (c) and 165 unconstitutional.

Court hearings began in February 2018. In a series of proceedings through 2018, the petitioners argued the laws, as stipulated in the penal codes, violated the right to privacy, freedom of expression, the right to health, human dignity and the right to freedom from non-discrimination.

The petitioners behind the historic case wanted the high court to declare unconstitutional the sections of the penal code that discriminated against members of the LGBTQ community. Eric Gitari was one of the petitioners who was present during the ruling.

“It sends a very chilling message, not just to LGBT people in Kenya but LGBT people across the African continent that there is preference, as you heard the judges say, certain cultures, which is the heterosexual culture and protection of the family. When judges have to weigh the protection of human rights of LGBT persons, they will give preference to majoritarian views and majoritarian interest of protecting families — that’s what we have been told and so we will remain criminals,” Gitari said. After Friday’s ruling, members of Kenya’s LGBT community were clearly distraught.

same-sex relations
Anti-gay rights protesters hold placards after a ruling by Kenya’s high court to upheld a law banning gay sex, outside the Milimani high Court in Nairobi, Kenya, May 24, 2019. VOA

Outside the courts, members of various Christian churches congregated, singing songs of jubilation.

One of them is Pastor Katy Kageni of the Sozo Church.

“So it’s not a sin worse than the other sin, but the problem is what it does to the family,” Kageni said. “Our fight is for the family unit. I am a mother of four, I came to this court, I told God, ‘don’t let us get into a position where I have to explain to my children why a man is holding a man.’ If he does it in the bedroom, that’s up to them, and between them and God — but not in public.

For the LGBT community, decriminalization of gay sex would provide guaranteed freedoms that they once only dreamed of, Gitari said.

He said because of today’s ruling, many of Kenya’s LGBT community would remain in the closet, and some will be too ashamed to access basic services, like health care.

ALSO READ: First Same-Sex Couple Ties Knot in Taiwan

Countries such as South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome, and Principe and Cape Verde have struck down anti-homosexuality laws from their constitutions through court rulings or changes in their laws.

Twenty-eight of 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa continue to uphold laws penalizing same-sex relationships, Kenya included. (VOA)