Kenya: Anglican priest defies bishops to support LGBT lawsuit


An Anglican priest in Kenya has joined LGBT advocates in a lawsuit against the state demanding greater rights for gay people, according to RNS.

Rev Mark Odhiambo joined two gay men and two lesbians in fighting Kenyan laws that they claim encroach on the freedoms of sexual minorities, who are allegedly routinely raped, attacked and arrested.

"I serve in the city and I have seen many of them facing serious challenges because their sexual orientation does not conform to that of the general society," said Odhiambo, who is serving as a curate in Maseno South, by Lake Victoria.

"They are subjected to all sorts of violence, both physical and sexual."

One of the female plaintiffs said she was gang-raped, attacked and arrested. A male plaintiff said he was denied his HIV medicine because he was gay.

The Anglican Church in Kenya is vocal in its rejection of homosexuality and it is possible Odhiambo could lose his job over supporting an LGBT cause.

Anglican Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa has criticised Odhiambo, suggesting he was supporting the cause for financial gain.

"I know some clergy and other people in the church who support homosexuality for money," he said.

"I think the priest is driven by material gains. I don't think he is serious."

The suit, which is not asking for remuneration, is asking for the rights of gay people to be protected, claiming Kenya's current laws are illegal under international law.

"This is what we have been fighting for all these years. These rights belong to everyone," said Rev Michael Kimindu, president of a group that advocates for LGBT people, Other Sheep Africa.

"Gay people are everywhere. They are in churches, in farming communities, in schools, in the army... Kenyans cannot reject their own because of one aspect."

Homosexual sex is currently illegal in Kenya.