A Landmark Victory for Africa’s LGBTQ Movements

Botswana’s High Court has overturned a colonial-era law criminalizing consensual same-sex relations saying that the legislation was discriminatory, unconstitutional and against the public interest. “A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness,” Justice Michael Leburu said, noting that discriminatory law not only serves as a detriment to LGBTQ people, but holds back all of society. The packed court erupted in cheers of joy upon hearing the verdict. Under section 164 of Botswana’s Penal Code, “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” was an offense that carried a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment. Section 167 made “acts of gross indecency” — whether in public or private — a punishable offense, with up to two years in prison. The case was brought to court in March by Letsweletse Motshidiemang, a 21-year-old student at the University of Botswana, who argued that society had changed and that homosexuality was more widely accepted, local media reported. The ruling comes just a month after Kenya’s high court upheld its laws criminalizing homosexuality.SOURCE: CNN

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