The ruling was supposed to be announced yesterday (February 22).
The Kenyan High Court has delayed its ruling on whether homosexuality should be made legal in the country until May 24. Judges said they had not “finalised” their decision over the ruling, and blamed “administrative challenges and full dockets.”
Homosexuality is currently illegal in Kenya, and people who are convicted can face up to 14 years in prison.
Writing on Twitter, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC) tweeted: “To say we are disappointed would be an understatement.”
The ruling of #repeal162 has been postponed 😭😭😭. The bench has not finalized making their decision.
To say we are disappointed would be an understatement
— #Repeal162 because #LoveIsHuman (@NGLHRC) February 22, 2019
And the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Kenya (GALCK) wrote: “We urge everyone stay calm and to be patient with our able courts as they make ready the ruling on the said date because #LoveIsHuman.”
#Repeal162 RULING POSTPONED!
The judges have asked to be given upto May 24th in finalizing their collective decision. We urge everyone stay calm and to be patient with our able courts as they make ready the ruling on the said date because #LoveIsHuman @NGLHRC @thekhrc pic.twitter.com/MfAwg6x5NS
— #Repeal162 🏳️🌈🇰🇪 (@Galck_ke) February 22, 2019
Halima Gikandi, a journalist reporting on the story posted responses to the ruling on her Twitter page. One activist told her: “What did we expect?” “This is not their priority.”
While another said: “They are just preparing Kenyans!” Gikandi noted that homosexuality was a “sensitive issue” in Kenya, but highlighted the work that LGBTQ organisations in the country, like the NGLHRC and GALCK were doing to combat this.
Reacting to the ruling, Téa Braun, the director of the Human Dignity Trust, said: “This is tremendously disappointing, particularly for the committed and tenacious activists and lawyers in Kenya who have been working towards this moment for several years.
“Nonetheless, we must put our trust in the Kenyan justice system. This is a pivotal case, and ultimately the most important thing is a sound and reasoned judgment that will free LGBT Kenyans from discrimination and persecution.”
The case was 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The case calls for Sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal code to be repealed, arguing that they are discriminatory and unconstitutional.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.
Although it’s not known how the case will turn out, there was a rare win for LGBTQ rights last year as Kenya’s Court of Appeal ruled that forced anal examinations should be illegal.