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Kenya Presses Pause on Decriminalizing Gay Sex 

Kenya Presses Pause on Decriminalizing Gay Sex 

LGBT activists and supporters attend a Kenyan court ruling on whether to decriminalize same sex relationships
LGBT activists and supporters attend a Kenyan court ruling on whether to decriminalize same sex relationships.

Activists expected a ruling Friday. Instead, persecution will continue legally until the courts rule otherwise.

Kenya's High Court has delayed a highly anticipated decision on whether the nation's archaic gay sex ban violates its constitution.

A ruling was expected Friday, but Judge Chacha Mwita told a courtroom crowd it will be months before the courts can issue a ruling. The tentative date is now May 24.

"The judges on the bench also sit in other courts ... we need more time," Mwita said, according to Reuters.

Human rights activists have petitioned the courts to throw out laws dating back to the colonial era for nearly two years, according to Foreign Policy. The African nation's laws punish "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" with 14 years in prison and any sexual contact between two men with five years.

But pro-LGBTQ attorneys argue that violates privacy and equality rights.

The country is still led by President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won reelection in 2017. The president openly told CNN just in 2015 that gays in the country have no rights.

Police in the nation have routinely harassed and arrested gays and lesbians, and have employed forced anal exams to prove individuals are breaking the law by having gay sex. Kenya's High Court in the past has condoned the practice.

In 2014, Kenya was the site of the infamous Club Envy raid in Nairobi, where 60 men were arrested for "suspected homosexuality."

There has been growing international pressure on Kenya and other African nations to decriminalize homosexuality. U.S. President Donald Trump's administration recently announced a campaign to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide.

More specific to Kenya, U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, traveled to the nation in 2015 and in a joint press conference with Kenyatta argued "the state should not discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation."

Kenyatta at the time said while there are shared values between the U.S. and Kenya, gay rights was among "things that we must admit we don't share."

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