William Ruto, Kenya’s Deputy President
Despite a landmark court ruling that gay people deserve equal rights, Kenya’s Deputy President, William Ruto, has insisted his government “won’t allow” homosexuality in the country.
According to Standard Digital, Ruto made the assertion about the so-called “practice” of homosexuality at a church service on Sunday in Nairobi.
“We will stand with religious leaders to defend our faith and beliefs. We will not allow homosexuality in our society as it violates our religious and cultural beliefs,” he told a cheering congregation.
“There’s no room for homosexuality in this country. That one I can assure you,” Ruto stated, adding that, “When we say this we are not saying so as to get votes but to protect what we all believe is not right.”
The comments were likely intended to address concerns by conservative Kenyans over last week’s ruling by the High Court in Nairobi ordering the government to recognise and register an LGBTI organisation.
The court said that the Kenyan Constitution protects the rights of “every person” – including gays and lesbians – and that the state cannot use “religious texts or its views of what the moral and religious convictions of Kenyans are to justify the limitation of a right.”
Gay sex is illegal in Kenya, with penalties of between five to 14 years’ imprisonment. The constitutionality of this ban has yet to be challenged in court.
Ruto campaigned against the adoption of the Constitution, which was voted in by 76 percent of Kenyans in a national referendum in 2010.
The deputy president is seemingly no paragon of virtue and has been implicated in a number of financial scandals. Ruto has also been charged with three counts of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in connection with post-election violence. He has dismissed all these claims as being politically motivated.