In a groundbreaking ruling, Botswana's High Court, on June 11, tossed out a colonial-era law that criminalized same-sex relations, NPR.org reported.
Previously, people who violated the statute could be thrown in prison for up to seven years.
"A democratic society is one that embraces tolerance, diversity and open-mindedness," Justice Michael Leburu said, according to CNN, adding, "Societal inclusion is central to ending poverty and fostering shared prosperity."
LEGABIBO ( The Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana ) lauded the court's ruling, with group coordinator Anna Mmolai-Chalmers saying, "This incredibly life-changing decision, although it does not right all the wrongs done to individual members of the LGBT community, is a step towards restoring our dignity as human beings."
A press release from OutRight Action International featured trans ARTitivist Katlego K Kolanyane-Kesupil saying, "I'm happy to see that the courts of law in Botswana have opted to support the dignity of Botswana by removing these clauses which render people criminals merely for whom they love. I am proud that this has happened in my lifetime, and look forward to educating Botswana to fully understand what this means to current and future generations of LGBTIQ people and their families. Justice will always shine brighter in the light than hate."
OutRight Action International Executive Director Jessica Stern added, "Same-sex relations are a crime in around 70 countries. Today that number has decreased by one. This achievement is not only testament to the resilience and perseverance of the LGBTIQ movement in Botswana, but also a source of inspiration for LGBTIIQ movements across the continent and the world where such laws are still in effect."
The NPR item is at www.npr.org/2019/06/11/731576727/botswanas-high-court-rules-homosexuality-is-not-a-crime .