Kenya is currently considering the Family Protection Bill 2023, which could lead to 50-year imprisonments for non-consensual same-sex acts.
Sponsored by Homa Bay Town legislator Peter Kaluma, the bill aims to ban homosexuality, same-sex unions, and LGBTQ activities and campaigns. It also intends to prohibit gay parades, assemblies, marches, and public cross-dressing.
According to the bill, individuals engaging in non-consensual same-sex acts could face imprisonment for a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of 50 years.
Owners of premises used for same-sex relations may be fined $14,000 (£11,000) or serve a seven-year jail term if the bill becomes law.
“A person who engages in sexual act with a person of the same-sex without the consent of the other person shall upon conviction be sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than 10 years and not exceeding 50 years,” the bill reads in part.
This development follows recent anti-LGBTQ protests in Kenya by clerics and civil society organizations.
It also comes after Kenya’s Supreme Court upheld a mid-September decision to allow the registration of LGBTQ non-governmental organizations, overturning a decade-long dispute with the National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission, which had been denied registration by Kenya’s NGO Coordinating Board.
Kenya’s NGO Coordinating Board had declined to register the National Gay and Lesbian Rights Commission, saying it “promotes same-sex behaviour”, dragging the case for a decade.
The Supreme Court’s ruling earlier this year deemed such discrimination unconstitutional, marking a significant milestone for LGBTQ organizations in Kenya.
Earlier this year, Uganda’s parliament passed sweeping antigay legislation that proposes tough new penalties for same-sex relationships and criminalizes anyone identifying as LGBTQ.
While more than 30 African countries, including Uganda, already ban same-sex relationships, the new law passed on Tuesday appears to be the first to outlaw merely identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ), Human Rights Watch said.
“The ayes have it,” Parliamentary Speaker Anita Annet Among said after the final vote, adding that the “bill passed in record time”.
In July, Ghana’s Parliament unanimously passed a motion that further tightens laws against the LGBTIQ+ community in the country.
The motion proposed by the Constitutional, Legal, and Parliamentary Affairs Committee to amend a controversial bill against the LGBTIQ+ community was passed by the 275 members of the unicameral Parliament.
The “Promotion of Appropriate Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill” was introduced in 2021. For it to come into force, it must still pass at least a third reading in the House and be signed into law by Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Amnesty International’s (AI) country director in Ghana, Genevieve Partington, rejected the bill, noting that in the West African country, the Penal Code dates back to colonial times.