The members of the LGBTQ+ community in Kenya can now freely associate without fearing anything after the Supreme court made a ruling on an appeal challanging their freedom of association. The community had formed their commission named National Gay amd Lesbian Human Rights Commission, NGLHRC and they applied to be registered as an NGO in Kenya.
Homa Bay Town constituency member of parliamnet had taken to court to challange the formation of such a group. This led to the Kenya NGO Coordinating Board blocking the registrationof the NGLHRC since they included the terms gay and lesbian. However, the supreme court has now dismissed Kaluma’s appeal after the same court had in February made a ruling that the NGO Coordinating Board has no authority to block the registration of LGBTQ+ commission. Kaluma requested the court to review the decision and definethe term sex.
While making the ruling, deputy chief justice Justices Philomena Mwilu, Smokin Wanjala, and Njoki Ndung’u said that restricting the right to associate solely based on sexual orientation was unconstitutional. According to them, the board’s decision to deny registration of LGBTQ+ group was “unreasonable and unjustified.” Kaluma’s appeal was dismissed on Tuesday 11th September where the bench of five judges led by DCJ Philomena Mwilu said that they do not have the authority to sit on appeal or rewiew its own decisions.
This now give a green light to the formation of the NGLHRC that will be trying to raise awareness on the existance of the LGBTQ+ members and try to fight for their rights. The issue of the queer community has been a delicate topic in the country since last year after their members raised concerns over persecution and discrimination.