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Kenya’s High Court has decided to dismiss the petition filed in 2016 by three Kenyan LGBT organizations to abolish sections 162 and 165 of the Kenyan Penal Code that bans same-sex relationships. The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel came down today—May 24, 2019—the same day that Taiwan held its first official gay marriages. 

One of the reasons cited by the judges for retaining their country’s anti-LGBT laws is the lack of evidence that discrimination against the LGBT community exists. Justice Mativo reportedly said, “Petitioners failed to provide credible evidence to demonstrate that they had been discriminated against.” Adding, “Evidence submitted showing that LGBT people have been denied healthcare services on the basis of their sexuality were general statements that did not meet the burden of proof.”

According to Kenya’s law, two or more people (whether straight or gay couple) engaging in sexual activities such as anal sex, oral sex, rimming, handjobs, and many others that “do not involve the penis penetrating the vagina” have committed a crime. They refer to anal intercourse as “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and it carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Gross indecency, on the other hand, is defined as any sexual activity between two men committed in public or private that does not involve penetration and is punishable by a maximum of 5 years in prison. 

A 2013 Pew Research Center survey revealed that 90% of Kenyans believe “homosexuality should not be accepted by society.” The decision, therefore, did not come as a surprise to the LGBT activists who vowed to appeal the ruling. Read the entire story here and take a look at some of the netizen’s reaction on Twitter regarding the High Court’s decision below:

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