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NAIROBI, Kenya (RNS) — In a case that pitted influential faith leaders against gay rights groups, Kenya’s High Court declined on Friday (May 24) to force the repeal of sections of the penal code widely seen to discriminate against homosexuals.
A ruling in favor of repeal would have been a trailblazing step for an Africa court, but the three-judge bench said there was not sufficient evidence of discrimination or denial of basic rights.
Petitioner - Offense - Gays - Lesbians - Justice
“We are not persuaded by the petitioner that the offense against them (gays and Lesbians) are overboard,” said Justice Chacha Mwita, one of the judges.
But pro-gay church leaders and activists reacted sharply to the ruling, vowing that the struggle for equality will continue.
Rev - John - Makokha - Pastor - Riruta
“I am very disappointed,” Rev. John Makokha, a pastor who heads Riruta Hope Community Church in Nairobi, which welcomes LGBT people, told Religion News Service. “Gay people need the freedom to express themselves without fear or victimization. They need to be let free to live their lives fully.”
He urged the churches to open their doors to LGBT people, saying they, too, are children of God.
Majority - Christian - Muslim - Leaders - Court
But the vast majority of Christian and Muslim leaders approved of the court’s decision. Most oppose homosexuality as contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Quran, and many pastors don’t accept gays and lesbians in their churches.
Homosexuality “is against everything — our culture, the bible, nature, our faith,” said Anglican Archbishop Jackson Ole Sapit of Kenya. “We are alarmed by same sex marriages. Marriages is an institution of procreation. There is no procreation in gay marriages.”
Archbishop - Trends - Imports - West - Vigilance
According to the archbishop, defeating these trends, which he said are imports from the West, requires vigilance. “If we keep quiet, they advance an inch. We must sustain the noise against the trends,” said Ole Sapit.
Sheikh Hassan ole Naado, deputy secretary general of the Supreme Council...
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