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Homosexuality and the law

To say that homosexuality is seen differently in different parts of the world is putting it mildly. Cultural and personal attitudes towards homosexuality vary widely.

Some people, usually for religious or traditional reasons, see same-sex relationships as shameful or sinful. Gays and lesbians can face prejudice and discrimination, hatred and violence.

On the other hand, many people all over the world see homosexuality as just a normal part of life. They think gays and lesbians deserve the same respect as heterosexuals.

In almost 60 per cent of countries in the world, being gay is legal. In many of them, it’s widely accepted. Gay and lesbian couples can now get married in the same way as straight couples in a long list of countries in Europe, North and South America and also South Africa and New Zealand. But in some places homosexuality is illegal, and gays, lesbians, and bisexuals can face imprisonment.

Homosexuality and the law

There are also huge differences around the world in the way homosexuality is treated in the law.

In the Netherlands, for example, homosexual couples can get married just like heterosexual couples. At the moment there are 23 countries in the world where this is possible. Most are in Europe, but they include Canada and South Africa. And many other countries have some other official form of same-sex partnership other than marriage.

On the other hand, there are also countries, most of them in Africa and the Middle East, where homosexuality is totally illegal. People found guilty of having a homosexual relationship can face prison sentences, flogging or, in countries like Sudan and Iran, the death penalty.

How does the law treat homosexuality where you live? You can check lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) rights around the world here.

The law in Kenya

Consensual sex between same-sex adults is illegal in Kenya. The law makes it clear that men who have sex with other men are committing a crime. Another law is less specific, but makes sex with ‘any person against the order of nature’ punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

In 2015, the High Court of Kenya granted LGBT organisations and welfare groups the right to be officially registered. These groups, therefore, operate legally. There is currently an ongoing court case (February 2018) to review the sections of the Penal Code that criminalise consensual same-sex activities.

Since gay and lesbian sex is considered a crime, same-sex marriage is also not permitted. Some tribal groups – the Nandi, Kikuyu, Kamba, and several others – traditionally allow women to marry other women, however, and this remains acceptable. These unions are accepted as marriages, with one woman taking the role of ‘husband’. These are not considered homosexual, however. The women live together, but the marriage is for social reasons, as a way for families without sons to keep the family land and wealth.

The law in Nigeria

In 2014, the Nigerian government passed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act (SSMPA) into law, which criminalizes consensual same-sex relations – making it punishable with up to 14 years imprisonment. The act penalizes not only direct sexual relations but also indirect relations, such as holding hands. The Shari’a Penal Code of Northern Nigeria (applicable in 12 of the 19 Nigerian states) goes further: the maximum punishment is death by public stoning.

SSMPA along with harsh stigma around LGBT people in Nigeria can lead to an unwelcoming environment. People are often harassed, arrested, extorted, experience violence, and often are not able to access services. This can lead to the LGBT community not being treated well by friends, family, police, and healthcare providers.

SSMPA also outlaws the supporting, and organizing around, issues related to LGBT rights. Even people who are witnessing, aiding or abetting on this issue, such as family, friends or allies, can risk prosecution. Since the act essentially prevents the right to peaceful assembly and association, it also impacts an LGBT person’s right to health.

Another essential human right is also being violated: the right to have a consensual relationship with the person you love.
While this all sounds rather gloomy, there are organisations that are legally operating in Nigeria to support LGBT people in various ways. And there are LGBT people who have found love – so please be careful but not discouraged!

LGB in Africa

Some people are gay. This is true in every country in the world, and African countries are no exception.

Many people think that being gay is ‘un-African’, or they say that ‘it’s not our culture’. But there are 54 countries in Africa, and in Kenya alone there are more than 42 tribes. That’s a lot of African cultures, and there’s evidence that homosexuality was traditionally accepted in many of them.

There are examples from all over the continent, from the ancient rock paintings of Zimbabwe that show men having sex with men to the numerous words in African languages describing homosexuality, gay men and lesbians.

Gay relationships are not un-African, but the laws that criminalize them are. The first anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda were introduced by the British. Homosexuality was taboo in 19th century Europe, and the colonial powers brought these prejudices with them to Africa.

Cultures change! People create culture, and people can change it too. It’s only recently that many African cultures have become so intolerant of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. It doesn’t have to stay that way.

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Recent Comments (43)

    1. Hi, What videos are you…
      Hi, What videos are you looking for?

  1. Hi.,please l have a friend …
    Hi.,please l have a friend who seems to a bisexual he alway sent love sms to as if am person of diferent sex but we are of the same, please how can i mentor him to stop feeling me.?

    1. Hello Lieq, apart from…
      Hello Lieq, apart from receiving love messages from your friend, is there anything else that you have observed so that you conclude that he is bisexual? Lieq, everyone is different – their bodies, who they love, and how they identify themselves. Being bisexual is not a choice just like being heterosexual. It’s just the way one is born, and the way one feels inside.There’s no scientific evidence that anything can change one from being homosexual to being heterosexual. It’s just the way one is made. The one thing you can do is to communicate your feelings and the fact that you dont like the messages he sends to you. Most important is to love each other unconditionally and be there as a friend. Check out this article:

  2. Homosexuality should stopped…
    Homosexuality should stopped,, Kenya is a christian nation and the bible does not allow as to do it.dont imitate from white peaple

    1. Hi Joachim, we appreciate…

      Hi Joachim, we appreciate your contribution.

    2. Pffff really joachim??? …
      Pffff really joachim???
      Werent your country peaceful living happily blacks loving other blacks ckans and tribes no christianity no bible till the whites came and colonised you and made you their slave till now and do’t forget what science says human originated from africa and from blacks and millions of proofs of homosexuality and trans accepted in africa before the coming of the coloniser
      The bible allows and ask for ur slavery and your kill and murder and incite hate and u were not christians till the british used religion to control u and made u their slave
      What bible?? What imotation of whites?? Please stop the ignorance and bigotry
      Love one another ok

      1. We appreciate your…

        We appreciate your contribution Adam. 

        1. God is not mocked whatsever…
          God is not mocked whatsever a man soweth that he/she shall reap.dont joke with God he’s a consuming fire.

          1. Hello Lewis, thank you for…

            Hello Lewis, thank you for your input on this issue. We respect everyone’s right to conscience and religious freedom however we are committed to providing a non-judgmental space for discussion and information that engages young adults about love, sex, and relationships.
            Most theological grouping (including Christianity) outline that one will have to reckon with God on their own. The Bible says “Judge not lest ye be judged”

    3. Stop viewing homosexuality…
      Stop viewing homosexuality from a christianity point of view only… Do a research on how society contribute to homosexuality

      1. We appreciate your…

        We appreciate your contribution Justin.

    4. That’s a little hypothetical…
      That’s a little hypothetical,,so it’s okay to allow people who commit other wrongs in Church but we condemn homosexuality so bitterly.If other sins we condemned as much then Christianity would be a much respected religion than what we see today

      1. We appreciate your…

        We appreciate your contribution Pauline. 

    5. The bible doesn’t highlight…
      The bible doesn’t highlight on homosexuality although it say marriage is for a reunion which God started. Still the bible is clearly against sex before marriage and people are allowed to have sex once they are 18yrs

      1. You are very right Sayen…

        You are very right Sayen when you say that people are only allowed to have sex when they are over the age of 18 and we appreciate your input regarding your thoughts on the bible. Have a wonderful week ahead and stay safe!

      2. Kindly read romans chapter 1
        Kindly read romans chapter 1

        1. Hello Lewis, thank you for…

          Hello Lewis, thank you for your input on this issue. We respect everyone’s right to conscience and religious freedom however we are committed to providing a non-judgmental space for discussion and information that engages young adults about love, sex, and relationships.

      1. Hey Obinna, what video?

        Hey Obinna, what video?

  3. To me is not their fault…
    To me is not their fault that they are gays because some are born into it.

    1. Thank you for your…

      Thank you for your contribution James.

  4. Gays to me are nothing bad…
    Gays to me are nothing bad. It who they are it not their fault.

    1. Hey Joe, we appreciate your…

      Hey Joe, we appreciate your contribution.

    1. Thank you for sharing…

      Thank you for sharing Solomon. Feel free to ask any questions on Love, Sex and Relationships and we shall be more than glad to respond to you.

  5. Well, I dont think its wrong…
    Well, I dont think its wrong and I’m not saying it’s right.
    I’m a christian, I respect God. But that same bubble says we shouldn’t judge so to me I dont see why people see it as a big deal. I actually feel drawn to both sex mostly girls
    I have a girlfriend but I don’t take homosexuality as a bad thing.

    1. Thank you for sharing your…

      Thank you for sharing your opinion Chisom, we appreciate. 

    1. Hey Bella, welcome to Love…

      Hey Bella, welcome to Love Matters Africa. What can we do for you?

  6. I have been engaging in…
    I have been engaging in homosexual for good two years now i have reached apoint to stop this kind of nonsense,but it has become difficult for me to stop what can I do to stop this kind advice please,not only that am trying to seduce girl two times but when it reaches a time for having sex my penis releases even before getting into the vagina what is the problem please am now on a bad situation and I want to marry.

    1. Hello Wilfred, thank you for…

      Hello Wilfred, thank you for reaching out to us. We understand your frustration and we are truly sorry you are going through such a hard time. First, let us say that you cannot control who you are sexually attracted to. Sexual Orientation is part of a person’s identity. You can choose not to act on your attraction though.

      What you are experiencing may be Premature Ejaculation, which is caused by a number of reasons including fear, anxiety or even stress. Anxiety that one will not perform can make him ejaculate much earlier or stress from home or work. In other cases, particularly in young men it could be the result of sexual inexperience, and so as the young man gets older he also gains more experience in controlling ejaculation.

      There are a few things you one can do to improve control and last longer. In the short term, you can take short breaks during intercourse, you can also apply firm pressure underneath the penis during intercourse to push blood out of the penis hence decreasing sexual tension, distract yourself to think about other non sexual things or use penis desensitizers. Penis desensitizers come in the form of sprays and creams that can be applied on the penis minutes before intercourse and they help to delay ejaculation. Sometimes a condom can help reduce the sensitivity on the penis.

      In the long term one can ensure they eat healthy and avoid lots of processed foods, begin to exercise which improves blood flow in the body, reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol including smoking and more importantly reduce stress during intercourse. Foreplay will also play a critical role in preparing your partner and getting them closer to an orgasm.

      The following articles provide more information;-

      Love Matters Team.

  7. Gay is not good but…
    Gay is not good but something is from bad friends ok but I like doing it o because human been is sometimes U may any girls then U try to do it thereother way ok but is not good thanks

    1. Hello Obinna, thank you for…

      Hello Obinna, thank you for your comment. When we are young we do experiment with sex to find out what we like and what we do not. However, homosexuality as a sexual orientation is real and integral to a person’s identity.

  8. Homosexuality is evil and…
    Homosexuality is evil and must be stopped…If God wanted Homosexuality He’d had created Adam and Steve maybe or Eve and Evelyn..He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of it and all of you who support it will burn…If it were right why didn’t your fore fathers told u to marry the same sex?…Why would we see the present day corruption and call it a way of life?
    The question is…If everyone were homosexual… How would reproduction be accomplished?…I would employ us to think and ponder on this matter.. The country is right on the law but a little weak…it could’ve been a death penalty…Stop homosexuality please…because if we don’t the next generation will be filled with homosexuals and climate change that we thought might end the world might not end it…Rather our actions and passiveness will….
    Think on this
    If your parents were homosexuals would u have been born?
    Thank you

    1. Hello Wells, thank you for…

      Hello Wells, thank you for your input. It is appreciated.  We welcome people of all thoughts and consciousness to comment on our platform. We understand that you fel strongly about the topic. However, a person’s sexual orientation (including homosexuality) is innate and cannot be changed. We do not advocate for the killing of people regardless of who they are and find these remarks inflamatory. Going forward we ask that you refrain from using such language on this site.

  9. I’m not the above Joachim …
    I’m not the above Joachim (03/20/2018)… Well, there is nothing wrong when two sane adults decide to please themselves intimately. We are humans wonderfully created by Our Very Good Lord. We should NOT hide in the Holy Scriptures. Let’s respect our feelings responsibly, for we will be Individually judged.

  10. By suggesting that we…
    By suggesting that we shouldn’t immitate “whites” ( which sounds racist), drop your “white” name and the same Bible (that was brought to us by the “whites”)

  11. Thank you so much for your…

    Thank you so much for your lovely insights and we really appreciate your liberal perspective on our forum discussion! Keep them coming! Have a wonderful week and stay safe!

  12. Which bible do Tho se…
    Which bible do Tho se suporte és of this devlish act read .May God have mercê n save this

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