Back in 2019, campaigners in Botswana fought to remove jail sentences for those caught in same-sex relationships, arguing that the punishment (which, since 1965, is up to seven years in prison) is unconstitutional.
The country’s High Court ruled in favor of the campaigners much to their delight, however, the government still disputed the ruling, reasoning that the courts had no jurisdiction in the matter.
Late last month, Botswana’s Court of Appeal declared the government’s appeal unsuccessful, effectively decriminalizing homosexuality in the country, a big win for the LGBTQ+ community.
Judge Ian Kirby, who had the privilege of reading out the ruling on Monday, said that gay citizens had long lived in “constant fear of discovery or arrest” when expressing “love for their partners,” which “sometimes led to depression, suicidal behavior, alcoholism, or substance abuse.”
Hopefully, more African nations will follow suit, as Botswana is only one in a few countries on the continent to have decriminalized homosexuality, with South Africa being the only one that legalized same-sex marriage.