Kenya has ruled that homosexuality should remain illegal.
The Kenyan High Court announced that they would be making a decision on whether same-sex relationships should be made legal on Friday 24 May, after the original February ruling was delayed.
According to The Guardian, a bench of three judges told a packed courtroom that they hadn’t seen enough evidence that anyone had actually been discriminated against by the laws, which they say represent the values of the country.
Under a colonial-era law, homosexuality is illegal and anyone convicted can face up to 14 years in prison.
“The bench says there was insufficient evidence of discrimination and denial of basic human rights due to one’s real or perceived sexuality,” wrote the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) on Twitter.
#Repeal162 The bench says there was insufficient evidence of discrimination and denial of basic human rights due to one's real or perceived sexuality… They have upheld sections of 162 a, c and 165 of the penal code
— #Repeal162 because #LoveIsHuman (@NGLHRC) May 24, 2019
The Gay And Lesbian Coalition Of Kenya (GALCK) reported that the judgement argued the petitioners “did not provide sufficient evidence to rule in their favour” and also claimed that homosexuality “is not innate”.
The final judgement argued that the petitioners did not provide sufficient evidence to rule in their favour. They also argued that one is simply "not born this way" and homosexuality is not innate. #Repeal162
— #Repeal162 🏳️🌈🇰🇪 (@Galck_ke) May 24, 2019
Téa Braun, director of the Human Dignity Trust, called the decision “a huge setback” for human rights in Kenya.
“All Kenyan citizens are guaranteed human dignity, equality before the law and freedom from discrimination under the 2010 Constitution. Yet in handing down this disappointing judgment, the court has ruled that a certain sector of society is undeserving of those rights,” they said.
“The ruling sends a dangerous signal to the other 72 countries where citizens are made ‘criminals’ simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The case was initially brought to the Kenyan High Court in January last year. It came after two men caught having sex in Mombasa were forced to undergo torturous anal examinations.
The case called for Sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal code to be repealed, arguing that they are discriminatory and unconstitutional. However, religious groups in America have funded the Kenya Christian Professional Forum, who want to make the rules much tougher and for them to explicitly target homosexuality.
There was a rare win for LGBTQ rights last year as Kenya’s Court of Appeal ruled that forced anal examinations should be illegal.