Gay rights group wins in court in Kenya

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Gay rights group wins in court in Kenya

By Moses Wasamu

15.05.28-citizenweekly-590.jpg

There are protests against a Kenyan gay rights group after they win in court in Kenya. The Citizen Weekly paper printed the names and photos of well known gay people.

A Kenyan court has ordered the government to register a gay rights organization. But the Church and some members of parliament are protesting against it.

In April 2015 three judges ordered the Kenyan government to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC). It is a human rights group that speaks for the rights of gay people.

Kenya’s Attorney General has questioned the court’s decision. And churches say the court order is un-African and against the family.

The NGO Co-ordination Board is the government body which looks at non-governmental organizations in Kenya. In the past it refused to register the gay rights group for ‘religious and moral’ reasons. With the Attorney General and some religious groups, the NGO Board was against the registration of the NGLHRC. But the judges said that the Kenyan Constitution does not allow taking away human rights for moral or religious reasons.

Members of parliament are also against the court order and asked the Attorney General and the NGO Board to protest against it.

One MP, Irungu Kang’ata, said that the judges’ court order was very wrong. He said that Kenyan Law makes homosexuality a crime.

The High Court said that the Constitution allows the rights of ‘every person’, including small groups such as gays and lesbians. But the churches think the court made the order because US President Barack Obama is visiting Kenya in July.

Deputy President William Ruto said on national television that the government would not allow the registration of an organization for gays. He told a Nairobi church, ‘The Republic of Kenya is a republic that loves God. We have no room for gays and those others.’

Like most of sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya is strongly religious and socially conservative. Most people in Kenya will often agree with African leaders like Kenya’s deputy president who are against gays. The Kenyan weekly newspaper Citizen Weekly printed the names and photos of 12 gay leaders on its front page. Their lives may now be in danger.

Denis Nzioka is one of the gay activists with his name and photo in the newspaper. He says he now fears for his life. He says that the newspaper is wrong to print their names and photos without asking.

He said, ‘By printing our faces, people can now put a face to a name. We are in danger. We want to be sure the people in the photos are safe. We hope that this discussion is not from hate or people not understanding. We hope that it is about understanding, open discussion and equality.’

Activists like Denis are afraid that this might start violence like in Uganda in 2010. Then after a ‘name and shame’ campaign gay activist David Kato was murdered.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL:

http://newint.org/blog/majority/2015/05/28/gay-rights-kenya/

(This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).