As of today, Botswana announces that same sex intercourse is now legal. According to The New York Times, Botswana decided to end the colonial-era that has criminalized homosexuality, giving the LGBTQ community gay rights within the African continent. Being a homosexual in Africa meant that you could serve up to seven years in prison for having gay sex.
So far, thirty-two of Africa's 54 nations have laws that criminalize consensual, same-sex conduct, according to Human Rights Watch, with carying provisions. People of the LGBTQ community are overjoyed with Botswana's verdict of decriminalizing gay sex. The country jjoins other countries who have already made the change such as South Africa, Angola, and Mozambique.
Judge Michael Leburu made a statement to CNN news saying, "A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity, and open-mindedness." He also noted that discriminatory law not only serves as a detriment towards the LGBTQ community, but holds back all of society.
According to The New York Times, Judge Michael Leburu says, "Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized", then added that the laws that banned same gay sex was being "discriminatory". Judge Michael Leburu said that sexual orientation "is not a fashion statement" and that the laws violated people's rights to privacy and freedom from discrimination.
Spokeswoman for Lesbians, Gays, and Bisexuals of Botswana, Matlhogonolo Samsam made a statement according to The New York Times, "It is a historical moment for us. We are proud of our justice system for seeing the need to safeguard the rights of the LGBTQ community." The chief executive of the gay rights group, Anna Mmolai-Chalmers says, "We still can't believe what has happened. We've been fighting for so long, and within three hours your life changes."
Even the senior researcher of Human Rights Watch, Neela Ghoshal, made a comment to CNN saying that the ruling sets a "powerful precedent on the continent by recognizing the criminalization of same sex conduct violates privacy rights and is blatantly discriminatory."
Gayes, let's congratulate our brother and sisters in Botswana!