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Muslims in Kenya protest at Supreme Court over its endorsement of LGBTQ right to associate

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Hundreds of Muslims in Kenya’s capital rallied Friday outside the Supreme Court to protest its decision last month to reaffirm the LGBTQ community’s right of association, saying that the verdict condoned immorality and demanding that some justices step down.

The protest in Nairobi took place after Friday prayers, with demonstrators holding signs that attributed the verdict to “Neo Colonialists” and urged three of the five judges who supported the panel’s majority decision to “Repent and Resign.” Some conservative Christians also attended.

The court last month reaffirmed an earlier ruling that the Non-Governmental Organization Board in Kenya had discriminated against LGBTQ people when it refused to register their association. The two dissenting judges opposed the ruling on the grounds that Kenya’s laws outlaw same-sex relationships.

Lawmaker Mohamed Ali told The Associated Press that Kenya is a religious country and that the court should respect that.

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“Islam and Christianity are against gayism,” he said. “Our country’s constitution doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages. Three people in a court should not go against the societal values.”

President William Ruto had said after the ruling that he respected the court’s decision, but also noted that the country’s culture and religion don’t allow same-sex relationships.

The LGBTQ community in Kenya is often targeted by homophobic people, including in cases of physical and verbal abuse.

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Kenya’s neighbor, Uganda, in May enacted an anti-LGBTQ law that carries the death penalty for charges of aggravated homosexuality, defined as cases of same-sex sexual relations involving a minor and other categories of vulnerable people, or when the perpetrator is infected with HIV.

A Kenyan lawmaker, Peter Kaluma, has submitted a similar harsh law in Kenya’s national assembly that is pending a review before it goes to the House for debate.