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Is Kenya on the verge of a Gene Robinson moment?

Is Kenya on the verge of a Gene Robinson moment?

Headlined, Kenya is on the verge of a ‘Gene Robinson’ moment, The Guardian op-ed by

Peter Anaminyi draws attention to the news that the prime minister of Kenya has nominated a pro-gay rights chief justice and deputy justice.

Not only that,

It is the new chief justice who will preside over the appointments of judges to a totally new supreme court that will exercise final appellate authority in the land. Is this, the question goes, the kind of responsibility you can entrust to a man and a woman who are not only gay rights advocates, but who are also both divorced, with the chief justice on his second divorce and with his sexual orientation in doubt because he wears a stud in his ear that he is not prepared to shed for the new job?

No said the church, but yes said the president and the prime minister and, more significantly, the people of Kenya with an 80% affirmative vote in a poll.

What may follow in the next 18 months is a constitutional challenge to the laws that criminalise homosexuality, based on the provisions of Kenya’s new constitution, which a legal expert has argued protects gay rights and even gay marriage. …

… If 80% of the public believe that a supporter of gay rights is qualified to hold the highest judicial office in the land, then which other roles in society can gay people be excluded from?

Needless to say, Protestant church leaders on the basis of their “Christian values and beliefs” opposed the nomination. They also called on the president and prime minister to “confirm whether the concerns being raised by Kenyans with regard to the nominees require their intervention”. …

Under normal circumstances, what the Christian leaders said should have settled the issues and led to the rejection of the nominees at the presidential level. In a country where homosexual convictions carry a jail sentence of 14 years and are heavily stigmatised, the issue of discussing the merits of candidates who are openly pro-gay rights would not in times past have arisen.

Read it all.

Here is the “church leaders” document referred to. Among those signing is the National Council of Churches of Kenya Secretary General. The Anglican Church of Kenya is a full member of NCCK. Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Church of Kenya, is the newly-elected Chairman of Gafcon.

At least one Anglican bishop of Kenya has expressed support for the nominees according to The Standard:

… Anglican Bishop Mwai Abiero criticised those opposed to the nominations and asked the principals and Parliament to clear the names.

Bishop Abiero earlier broke with the ACK by supporting the new constitution for Kenya which was approved by national referendum.

An op-ed in the Nairobi Star says “Willy Mutunga must have felt a whiff of betrayal when he watched the Catholic bishops oppose his nomination during their press conference last week. What were they saying, really? That because he dons a stud, which in my view he hasn’t satisfactorily explained, he is not fit to be Chief Justice?” A similar Nairobi Stat op-ed is here.

4:07 PM ET – Added the information that Bishop Abiero of the Diocese of Maseno South supports the nominees.


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