Botswana High Court legalises homosexuality

Botswana’s High Court on Tuesday decriminalised homosexuality in the country.

“Judge Michael Elburu “set aside” the “provisions of a Victorian-era” and ordered the laws be amended,” AFP reported.

Homosexuality was outlawed under the country’s 1965 Penal Code.

Judge Elburu said the Penal Code oppressed a minority of the population, and there is “nothing reasonable in discriminating.”

“We say the time has come that private, same sexuality must be decriminalized…It is a variety of human sexuality,” he said.

“Sexual orientation is human, it’s not a question of fashion. The question of private morality should not be the concerns of the law.”

The High Court had been petitioned by an anonymous individual only identified as LM for security reasons. The individual challenged two sections of the Penal Code under which offenders face a jail sentence of up to seven years.

In March, the court postponed a ruling on the issue, sparking fears that the much-awaited decision could be delayed indefinitely.

The government of Botswana has been against homosexuality in the country.

As Vice President, Ian Khama told Parliament, “Human rights are not a licence to commit unnatural acts which offend the social norms of behaviour … The law is abundantly clear that homosexuality, performed either by males or females, in public or private is an offence punishable by law”.

Last month, Kenya’s High Court upheld Section 162 of the Penal Code that criminalises gay sex, dealing a blow to activists campaigning to roll back anti-gay laws and stigma in Africa.

Angola, Mozambique and Seychelles have scrapped anti-gay laws in recent years.

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