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Botswana Decriminalizes Homosexuality

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Botswana Decriminalizes Homosexuality

Botswana Decriminalises Homosexuality, Removes Death Penalty

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The high court in Botswana rejected laws that could land couples in jail for up to seven years for being in a same-sex relationship.

BBC News reports that the court said it was unconstitutional to punish people for their sexual preference.

“Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalized,” Judge Michael Elburu said of the ruling.

Judge Elburu added that laws banning gay sex are “discriminatory” and that, “Sexual orientation is not a fashion statement. It is an important attribute of one’s personality.”

The ruling marks a significant step for gay rights in Africa as same-sex relations can be punishable by death in northern Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, and Mauritania. Tanzanian laws also punish homosexuality with a life sentence.

Homosexuality in Botswana was outlawed under the country’s penal code in 1965. Angola, Mozambique, and Seychelles are some of the countries that have changed their laws on same-sex partnerships, allowing for freedom of rights.

 

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