What Court Overturning Namibia's Sodomy Law Means

The High Court in Namibia declared the criminalization of sodomy between consenting men unconstitutional on June 21, 2024, citing violations of constitutional rights to equality, dignity, freedom of expression, and association. 

Friedel Dausab, a gay man who brought the case after facing societal ostracism and discrimination when coming out, argued that these laws unjustly labeled homosexual men as criminals and undermined their human dignity.

The Namibian government argued that the Constitution's drafters intended for Parliament to address the laws' constitutionality and that criminalizing sodomy did not constitute discrimination based on sex or gender.

However, the High Court rejected both arguments, finding that the government is permitted to criminalise sexual conduct "when it conflicts with human dignity", but that the government had failed to show any justifiable or rational reason why it should be allowed to interfere in sexual acts between consenting adult men in private.

InFocus

Most African countries have tough anti-gay laws (file photo).

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