John M. Becker

Gay Group Wins Legal Recognition in Botswana

Filed By John M. Becker | November 14, 2014 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Africa, Botswana, court ruling, legal victory

botswana_map.jpgAn LGB group in the landlocked southern African country of Botswana won a major legal victory today, when a judge overruled the government and found that the group has a right to register and work for changes to homophobic laws.

Reuters reports:

Justice Terrence Rannoane ruled that the Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) would be allowed to register and campaign for changes to anti-gay legislation but reiterated that it was still illegal to engage in homosexual acts.

"In a democratic society such as ours, freedom of expression, assembly and association are important values duly protected by our constitution," Rannoane said.

"The decision to refuse LEGABIBO registration was taken under the mistaken belief that the applicants intended to engage in homosexual practise, which is a crime," he added.

The ruling is likely to put pressure on the anti-gay agenda approved by President Ian Khama's government.

Today's ruling is a rare step forward on a continent where the landscape for LGBT people is bleak indeed.

Blogger Andy Towle unearthed a neat video of LGBT Botswananas talking about their lives. The clip, which was uploaded to YouTube in June by Botswana HIV/AIDS group BONELA, is after the break.

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