Uganda has a law that prohibits homosexuality in Uganda. We have in the last couple of years seen an unprecedented number of person come out of the closet openly expressing their sexual orientation. We saw a head mistress chase away some of her boarding school students from school the other day since they were practising lesbianism. We must no longer bury our heads in the sand. What will you do when your daughter boldly tells you on the face that she is a lesbian? Information is power. How many families discuss matters sexuality in our homes? We must play our role as a nation in guiding our children to uphold the family values. You cannot lay any useful role nor exercise parental responsibility as a parent if you are not empowered and or informed morally, socially or otherwise.
I would like to draw a very clear line here. Knowing about issues of sexual orientation does not mean practising that which you do not subscribe to.
Allow me to use this platform to tell you the little that I know about this complex concept known as lesbianism. It is homosexuality in women. It is a sexual attraction and sexual relations between women irrespective of age, religion or social standing. The relationship can give birth to a union whichthe lesbians believe or treat as a marriage. They cohabit like a couple. This is allowed in some countries. In Kenya the Constitution recognises unionsbetween persons of the opposite sex under Article 45. There is no Statute in Kenya in force that gives any legal status or recognition to lesbians or couplesof the same sex. Our Marriage laws provide and recognise marriages between a man and woman exclusively and not same sex marriages.
In countries where lesbianism has been legalised and accepted, lesbians usually adopt children from third parties or their own children they mighthave had from previous marriages or out of wedlock. Some lesbian partners acquire children through artificial methods like test tube babies, artificialinsemination or surrogacy.
Lesbians cannot adopt children in Kenya. Under The Children’s Act of Kenya an adoption order cannot be made if the applicant or, in the case ofJoint applicants, both or any of them is a homosexual. Homosexuals include gays and lesbians. We have never had a case of lesbians asking the court toallow them to adopt children in Kenyan family court.
The Constitution has embraced Customs under Article 2. We have seen unique marriages in Kenya which should not be confused with lesbianism.The concept of ‘woman-to-woman’ marriage is one such customary marriages. In High Court Succession No.989 of 1994.
Philisilah Wambaki (deceased) wasan old barren woman who adopted a daughter who she named Susan.
She proposed to marry Margaret so that she could bear children who would inherither enormous estate. Margaret agreed and marriage negotiations began culminating in their marriage in 1971 after all the customs pertaining to the KikuyuCustomary Marriage were performed.
‘The bride’ immediately moved into her matrimonial home to cohabit with Philisilah in Juja. She gave birth to 8children who are all children of the deceased. Margaret used to assist and look after the deceased even when she was sick. The eight children knewPhilisilah’s home as their home.
Margaret 's father told the court that he had blessed the union and that all the ceremonies pertaining to a Kikuyucustomary marriage were conducted and in 1982 when the final wedding ceremony was celebrated (Ngurario). The Chief of Juja also testified and gaveevidence of the role he played between these parties marriage.
On the issue of ‘woman to woman’ marriage the learned Judge was convinced that Margaret was actually married to Priscilla. The learned judge inhis informed judgement referred to, ‘The Restatement of African Customary Law’ Vol. 1 at page 13 – Eugen Contran which states;
“Where a husband dies leaving a childless widow, who is past child bearing age, the widow may marry a wife. The widow pays ruracio to thefamily of the woman selected and arranges for a man from the deceased husband’s age to have intercourse with her. Children resulting from suchintercourse are regarded as the children of the widow’s deceased husband.”
It must be noted that this type of marriage union is not a sexual relationship as is the case with that of lesbians. It is a relationship that is well-rooted, practised and accepted in many Kenyan customs. This custom is exclusively tailored for purposes of granting a barren widow the joy of parentage.
That said, we must remain focused on Article 45 (1) of The Constitution which stipulates that the family is the natural and fundamental unit ofsociety and the necessary basis of social order, and shall enjoy the recognition and protection of the State.