Botswana’s High Court has ruled that decades-old laws criminalising same-sex relations are unconstitutional in a landmark case watched across Africa.
In a highly-anticipated verdict delivered on Tuesday, Judge Michael Elburu “set aside” the “provisions of a Victorian-era” 1965 penal code which punishes same-sex relations with up to seven years in prison and ordered the laws be changed.
“There’s nothing reasonable in discriminating … Human dignity is harmed when minority groups are marginalised,” Elburu said.
“Sexual orientation is human, it’s not a question of fashion,” he added. “The question of private morality should not be the concerns of the law … The state cannot be sheriff in people’s bedrooms.”
Jubilant activists, some of whom were holding the rainbow flag synonymous with the LGBT movement, cheered the unanimous decision as it was announced in the packed courtroom.