Kenya Supreme Court makes a supreme decision on recognizing LGBTQ+ groups

Apicture with the judge's malet.

Today, the National Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (NGLHRC)
celebrates the Supreme Court of Kenya’s unwavering decision to uphold its landmark
judgment of February 24, 2023. This affirmation firmly supports the Court’s previous
verdict, allowing the registration of the NGLHRC with the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ in
its title.

The Beginning….

The Human Rights Commission which works for legal and policy reforms towards equality and full inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in Kenya has battled the courts for years to get formally registered by the Non-Governmental Organization Board, and, each time they won. It all began back in 2012 when the NGO board rejected the commission’s registration several times owing to the criminalisation of same-sex relationships. The initial NGLHRC victory in 2015 at the Constitutional Division of the High Court in Nairobi marked a significant stride towards ensuring that the voices of LGBTI Kenyans were heard and that they had a recognised platform to challenge routine discrimination, violence, and other human rights violations. This progress was further bolstered by the Court of Appeal’s endorsement in 2019.

Appeal Dismissal

Today, the highest court of the land determined that Mr Kaluma’s appeal had failed to demonstrate that the February ruling on NGLHRC’s registration had been obtained by fraud or deceit or that the court was misled into giving its judgment. In its dismissal of the motion, the court states, “In our view, the application is a disguised appeal from this Court’s judgment and does not fall within the confines of the
parameters prescribed for review by statute and applicable case law” Further, the court supplies, “The applicant is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya and a Member of Parliament. He ought to have known that his application was misconceived ab initio”

What it means

We join hands with NGLHRC in savouring this win! The supreme ruling not only marks a victory for NGLHRC but validates the existence of other queer organizing groups. This is an important win towards the fight for progressive laws that protect rather than persecute the Kenyan LGBTQ+ community. The Supreme Court of Kenya has shown that popular morality is not a basis for limiting rights in Kenya and we are all equal under the law.

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