Could Gay People Be At Risk In Botswana?

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

We’ve got ourselves a Bermuda situation where anti-gay politicians can’t take no for an answer.

Last month, we shared with you that the African country of Botswana legalized gay sex after its High Court voted that the colonial era laws were unconstitutional. Unfortunately, some conservative politicians aren’t letting this battle end.

Just as the island nation of Bermuda became a political tug-of-war after its own high court chose to legalize gay marriage to the disgust of some lawmakers, Botswana’s legalization of gay sex could be at risk.

Botswana’s government is attempting to appeal the High Court judgment. Many conservative and religious citizens have backed this attempt, according to Pastor Thuso Tiego.

“This is a challenge, it’s not normal,” said Tiego to VoaNews. “That is not how God wanted human beings to be like.  I am happy that the state has stood up and said there was an error.”

Photo by Samuel Martins on Unsplash

The appeal would then uphold Botswana’s penal code Sections 164 and 165, which would send anyone found guilty of gay sex to jail for up to seven years. This is, again, a law that came to Botswana, and many other countries, thanks to British colonial rule. While the UK has changed that law in its own lands and apologized for them, the lasting effect is still influencing much of the world (where homosexuality was accepted before the British/Christian takeover).

In response to this attempt and calls to appeal, LGBTQ advocates and allies have expressed concern and displeasure.

“It’s really, really disappointing,” said the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (or BONELA). “It basically means the government affirms the institutionalized stigma that is based on policy and laws that basically discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”

A date for the appeal hearing has yet to be set, but local, national, and international eyes are all waiting with bated breath.

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