Business Standard

Botswana's High Court decriminalizes same-sex relations

IANS  |  Gaborone 

Botswana's on Tuesday legalized same-sex relations in the south African country in a ruling that said two articles that had criminalized were unconstitutional.

Michael Lebruru, one of three investigating judges, said sections 164 and 165 of the penal code undermined a person's right to dignity, privacy and freedom, and were discriminatory.

The court in the capital overturned the two sections, in force since 1964, which criminalized "carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature" and "unnatural offences," respectively, news reported.

"Public opinion in cases like this is relevant but not decisive," Leburu said, adding: "This is about fundamental rights more than the public's view."

The complainants had requested a revision of the constitutionality of the laws criminalizing sexual relations between people of the same sex.

"The state cannot be in people's bedroom," the said.

Having same-sex relations in was punishable by up to seven years in prison.

The said a democratic country practices tolerance, diversity and mental openness, adding that social inclusion is paramount to ending poverty and reaching shared prosperity.

joins 21 African countries, among them Rwanda, and the Seychelles, that do not criminalize sexual relations between same-sex couples.

The ruling was good news for the LGBT community in after in recently upheld articles criminalizing gay sex in that country.

Members of the LGBT community who were present in on Tuesday left the courtroom visibly content with the ruling, while were filled with messages of congratulations.



(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, June 11 2019. 18:16 IST