A bill that seeks to make homosexuality illegal in Kenya has received praise from African Catholic activists. The Family Protection Bill was introduced April 5 by Homa Bay Town MP, Peter Kaluma.
The bill seeks to criminalize homosexuality, same-sex marriages, and LGBTQ behaviors, as well as ban ‘Comprehensive Sexuality Education.”
“No person shall provide or participate in the provision of sex reassignment prescriptions or procedures that are intended to create a sex other than the biological sex of the person observed and assigned to the person at birth,” the proposed legislation states in part.
Additionally, the Bill limits the rights to assembly, demonstration, association, expression, belief, privacy, and employment in childcare institutions in respect of homosexual convicts and those engaged in LGBTQ behavior.
The bill also says that people in girls’ schools cannot act as boys or men in plays, and vice versa. It further suggests clamping down on the promoters and funders of LGBTQ activities.
Hon. Kaluma said the current law that punishes acts of homosexuality between two consenting adults by seven years imprisonment and 14 years in case one party doesn’t consent aren’t enough of a deterrent.
“That is why under this new bill, we are increasing the penalty to life imprisonment. Part of that punishment, beyond sentencing is to institute mandatory rehabilitation”, he said, noting that this is necessary because there are young people who get trapped into “…this unnatural sexual behavior not because they wish but because of need, and I believe that some of those people can be reformed and then reintegrated back into society.”
The bill has been welcomed by the African branch of CitizenGo, a movement of Catholic activists that advocates the promotion of family values across the continent.
“The Family Protection Bill, proposed by Honorable George Peter Kaluma, is a step in the right direction toward preserving the moral values and cultural identity of Kenya,” the activists state in an April 13 online petition.
“By prohibiting the promotion of LGBTQ activities and lobbying, the Bill prevents the spread of the LGBTQ agenda in Kenya. This is important because it protects the values that are cherished by Kenyans and prevents the influence of foreign cultures on the country’s moral and social fabric,” the activists said.
They said by recognizing that sex is a physical state of being male or female which is observed and assigned at birth, and not an identity that one is free to choose and assign themselves, Kaluma’s bill “protects the traditional understanding of gender, which is crucial to the family structure in Kenya. It also recognizes the rights of parents to retain control over their children’s education and ensure that they are informed and give consent to their children’s sexuality education.”
The activists also welcome the proposal to ban Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) in pre-primary, primary, and secondary school education programs, “which teaches homosexuality, LGBTQ issues, abortion, and masturbation to children. This is an important aspect of the Bill because it protects children from being exposed to inappropriate content that is not consistent with Kenyan culture and values.”
The activists urged the speaker of Kenya’s National Assembly “to consider passing this Bill into law as it is an essential step towards preserving the moral values and cultural identity of Kenya.”
“We believe that passing the Family Protection Bill into law will help protect the family structure in Kenya and preserve the cultural identity and moral values of the country. We urge you to consider our petition and pass the Bill into law.”
Not everyone believes the bill is just about moral and cultural values. Alvin Mwangi, a Youth Church Leader has in an Oped in Kenya Insights said Kaluma’s Family Protection Bill (Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill) is importing hate.
“…the Bill is actually draconian legislation targeting gay and transgender people in Kenya,” he said.
“This proposed bill continues to create a misguided perception in society that lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer individuals are criminals and outcasts; a perception that subsets of the state and religious institutions advance to further perpetuate human rights violation and acts of violence,” he explained.
The bill could reverse a February 24 Supreme Court ruling that allows the registration of LGBTQ Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). The Supreme Court had ruled that although gayism is illegal (in Kenya), “they have a right of association.”
A Fresh Wave of Anti-Gay Sentiments
The proposed bill in Kenya is coming barely a month after Uganda passed a draconian anti-gay legislation that is now lying on President Museveni’s desk awaiting signature. The legislation imposes capital punishment and life imprisonment sentences for gay sex and “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities”.
In Ghana, Parliament is currently working on legislation that criminalizes advocacy for gay rights and proposes jail terms for those that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
In Tanzania, a former minister spoke against US support for LGBTQ rights ahead of the visit of US Vice President, Kamala Harris while in Zambia, Harris got a cold reception by opposition figures over her support for gay relationships.
According to Human Rights Watch, 33 of the 69 countries that criminalize same sex relations are in Africa.