We knew things weren’t going well in Kenya when a cabinet member’s call for gays and straights to coexist peacefully was answered by religious conservatives with furor. And when prison officials reluctantly release gay men arrested for trying to get married with the advice that they should split town — or else — well, you can imagine what the climate there for our kind is. Now enter Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who’s called for all gays — men and women — to be jailed. Ugh.
There is “no need” for homosexuality because there are enough women for the number of men, and vice versa, Odinga told an slum village audience at a Nairobi rally yesterday. “Any man found engaging in sexual activities with another man should be arrested. Even women found engaging in sexual activities will be arrested. … This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in this country. Men or women found engaging in those acts deserve to be arrested and will be arrested.”
The disgusting rhetoric came as a response to Kenya’s new constitution, adopted in August, that some believe lends status to same-sex relationships. But the constitution, which President Mwai Kibaki backed and created the new role of prime minister for Odinga in a power sharing arrangement arranged to appease the opposition, contains no such language, Odinga assured his audience. “Those were lies from leaders who wanted to confuse Kenyans to reject the new law, the Constitution is very clear on that matter. It does not state anywhere that same sex marriage is legal in Kenya.”
We realize this is a call by the co-head of a nation’s executive branch for the apprehension and detainment of an entire class of people simply for being born a certain way, correct? And that, with Kenya’s western neighbor Uganda, such action would create a geographical block of legalized bigotry?
The comments require an immediate rebuke for leaders around the globe, beginning wit Sec. Hillary Clinton. So far I see condemnation only from international gay rights groups. This needs to be elevated.