Kenyan Christians Try to Stop Formation of LGBT Group

Kenyan Christians Try to Stop Formation of LGBT Group May 1, 2015

The high court in Nairobi, Kenya has just issued a ruling allowing an LGBT rights advocacy group to form in that country and guess who tried to stop that? Christians, of course. The Kenya Christian Professionals Forum argued that it should not be allowed and is now going to appeal the ruling.

In a move that has stirred the anger of Kenya’s anti-gay Christian groups and sparked celebration by pro-gay clergy, the nation’s High Court has ruled that gay rights activists have the right to formally register their own groups and welfare organizations.

A three-judge panel issued the ruling Friday in response to a 2013 petition by the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission. The organization had unsuccessfully tried — five times — to register under the nation’s Non-Governmental Organizations Co-ordination Act since 2012, but had been rejected on grounds that Kenya’s penal code criminalized gay and lesbian associations.

This time, things were different, with the court ruling that refusing to register the organization was an infringement of the constitutional rights of association for LGBT people. The judges said registration was not about the moral and religious views of Kenyans, since the constitution does not set a limit of rights.

“Every person has the right to freedom of association, which includes the right to form, join or participate in the activities of an association of any kind,” the judges ruled, quoting Article 36 of Kenya’s constitution…

As expected, the judgment has drawn the wrath of politicians, anti-gay groups, and some clergy who are calling for an immediate reversal.

The Kenya Christian Professionals Forum said Wednesday that it will appeal the ruling since it was hostile to the fundamental values and moral norms of most Kenyans.

“We are not happy with the ruling. There are fundamental omissions and wrongs in it. That’s why we are appealing,” said Charles Kanjama, a lawyer who is vice chairman of the forum.

“Kenya is a multicultural country, and most people are opposed to any attempt to legitimize or legalize same-sex behavior,” added Kanjama.

Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, too, was troubled by the ruling, saying Kenyan society is organized around “family units,” not gay rights groups.

“The judgment was made with very narrow considerations and it is not only against Christianity, but also against Muslims’ teachings and traditions,” said Wabukala, who leads Kenya’s 4.5 million Anglican Christians, the country’s largest Protestant denomination.

They think it should be illegal for gay people to even advocate for their rights, much less have those rights protected. Christianity may be liberalizing in much of the world, but in Africa the churches tend to be extremely regressive and authoritarian.

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