Apr 20 2009

Senegal’s wise decision on accused homosexuals

Category: Uncategorized<ADMINNICENAME> @ 4:24 PM

The wise decision by Senegal’s court of appeals, to set aside convictions against eight gay men in the country, represents an important first step in West Africa towards a new legal framework for treating homosexuality. In Senegal, as in most West African countries (and East African countries as well), homosexuality remains a crime. In this case, the justices did not challenge the immorality of such a prohibition; rather they concluded that the ordinary evidence required to convict a homosexual — catching them in a sexual act — was not obtained in this case. Indeed, the ruling actually supports the legal ban. But the judges nevertheless deserve praise for their brave choice. In West Africa, even defending homosexuals when they are right — as they often are — invites abuse and even reprisals from the wider society. Let’s hope that Senegalese people of good will can withstand the inevitable backlash and aim even higher — full equal rights for people of all sexual orientations.

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