John M. Becker

Lawmakers in Kenya Propose 'Kill the Gays' Law

Filed By John M. Becker | August 11, 2014 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: Africa, aggravated homosexuality, anti-gay laws, east Africa, jail the gays, Kenya, Kill the Gays bill, sodomy ban, sodomy law, Uganda

kenya-map.gifLawmakers in Kenya's Republican Liberty Party are discussing a bill that would impose harsh jail sentences for homosexuality and the death penalty for so-called "aggravated homosexuality," Pink News reports:

The bill's author, Edward Onwong'a Nyakeriga, said: "The petition aims at providing a comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect the cherished culture of the people of Kenya, legal, religious and traditional family values against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on the people of Kenya.

"There is need to protect children and youth who are vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technology, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care or otherwise."

The draft bill also introduces life sentences for anyone running 'brothels for homosexuality purposes', which could be used to target anyone who lives with a gay person.

Kenya's Daily Nation adds:

[Lawmakers] propose death by stoning in public for any foreigner who commits a homosexual act and a life imprisonment for Kenyan nationals found guilty. Anyone found guilty of aggravated homosexuality would also be stoned to death in public.

Aggravated homosexuality in this case would include committing the acts with people below 18 years, if the offender is a person living with HIV, if those persons committing the act are persons in authority over their victims, serial offenders and where a victim is a person with a disability.

More, after the break.

If the term "aggravated homosexuality" looks familiar, it's because it's the same language that was used in Uganda's infamous "Kill the Gays" law. (In that case, the punishment for so-called "aggravated homosexuality" was reduced from death to life imprisonment.)

Homosexuality is already illegal in Kenya and punishable by up to 14 years' imprisonment, but the 84-year-old, colonial-era statute isn't currently being enforced.

Kenya's proposed law, which is worrisome in and of itself, is additionally troubling because many LGBT Ugandans have fled to Kenya to avoid persecution in their own country. If this measure passes, they would become targets once again. Also, Kenya is one of Africa's bellwether states, the anchor of stability in east Africa, and the major regional power in that part of the continent -- so any steps that country takes towards their LGBT community, for good or for ill, is likely to have ripple effects far beyond their borders.

Let's hope Kenya chooses to reject state-sponsored homophobia.

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