Kenya: Court Issues Order Protecting LGBTQ+ People


The High Court in Mombasa has issued a landmark interim ruling, ordering anti-gay groups and individuals to refrain from inciting violence against LGBTQ+ people in Kenya.

The interim conservatory order was issued in response to a petition by the Centre for Minority Rights and Strategic Litigation (CMRSL) seeking protection for the LGBTQ+ community from members of the so-called Anti-LGBTQ+ Movement.

Kenya witnessed a surge in radical anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment last year, both online and in the streets. This was partially ignited by a historic September 2023 court ruling that ordered the government to register the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission as an NGO.

Bible and Quran Cited in Calls for Anti-LGBTQ+ Violence

Several protests, typically led by religious leaders, branded the struggle for LGBTQ+ equality as satanic and Western ideology, and called for the resignation of the Supreme Court judges who issued the ruling.

During some demonstrations, speakers invoked both the Bible and the Quran to condemn LGBTQ+ individuals and advocate for their harm.

In a video posted on social media, MP Mohamed Ali was seen addressing the crowds and inciting violence against the LGBTQ+ community. He also urged the American government to offer to take in Kenya’s LGBTQ+ population if it was so interested in them.

The court order issued on Monday restrains Ali and other anti-LGBTQ+ activists from “calling on or inciting members of the public to carry out extra-judicial killing, lynching, punishing, stoning, forcible conversion or any other means of harming LGBTQ+ identifying persons and their homes, expulsion from Kenya or any part of Kenya of LGBTQ+ identifying persons or closure of organisations serving LGBTQ+ identifying persions serving LGBTQ+ identifying persons.”

Homosexuality Remains Criminalised in Kenya

CMRSL welcomed the development as “a major win for safety and equality in Kenya, allowing LGBTQ+ people to live with greater peace of mind.”

The order is an interim one, pending a final ruling on CMRSL’s petition. Dates were set for both the petitioners and the respondents to file their respective court papers, with the matter to be heard in open court on 24 July 2024.

Homosexuality remains criminalised in Kenya under colonial-era laws referencing “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and “gross indecency,” punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

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