Same sex relationships are no longer regarded as a crime in Botswana as the country has now joined a growing list of nations to decriminalize it.
South Africa, Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, and São Tomé are the other countries that have decriminalized it.
Before this, homosexuality was seen as a crime under the colonial-era section 164 of Botswana’s penal code.
It stated that homosexuality was “against the order of nature.” and prescribed a prison term of 7 years.
Justice Michael Lebutu announced the ruling and said that discrimination had no place in Botswana.
“A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity, and open-mindedness,” he said and then added, “Societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity.”
The whole situation came under scrutiny when Letsweletse Motshidiemang, a student took it to the courts and challenged the law.
He said at the time: “I am in a sexually intimate relationship with a man. I have no doubt that this will be the case for the rest of my life. My friends, roommates at the University of Botswana have accepted me, even at the University of Botswana I feel free and accepted,”
“By virtue of one or more of these provisions of the law, I am prohibited from expressing the greatest emotion of love through the act of enjoying sexual intercourse with another consenting adult male that I am sexually attracted to and who is also sexually attracted to me, as consenting adults,”
The decision has been applauded by the LGBTQ community with Anna Mmolai-Chalmers, coordinator of the LGBTQ rights group Legabibo said, “This judgement can make a massive change for our lives. This is what excites me the most. The judgement means so much. The court has upheld our dignity, our privacy, and our liberty … It means freedom.”
Photo Credit: @legabiboadvo
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