Target: William Ruto, Deputy President of Kenya
Goal: Denounce politician who made anti-gay statements at a church gathering.
Vitriolic anti-gay statements were recently made by William Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president. During a church worship service, he claimed that there is “no room for gays in Kenya,” and said that their lifestyle violates the country’s cultural and religious values. These comments echoed previous statements by the country’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, who openly called for the arrest of gay couples, condemning their lifestyles as “unnatural.”
These statements by government officials are only adding to the increasingly dangerous anti-gay sentiment in Kenya. According to a 2007 study on global attitudes toward homosexuality, the country ranks fifth out of 45 countries for hostile attitudes toward LGBT persons. Reports have surfaced of large groups of teenagers attacking these individuals and even burning down their homes or harming their families. Most shockingly, gay activists have claimed that these mobs have been hired and paid by politicians.
In Kenya, LGBT sex acts are considered to be a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Homosexual couples are not allowed to marry or adopt children, and there are no laws to protect LGBT individuals from discrimination or hate crimes. This has opened the way for police officers to harass, extort, and even sometimes rape them with impunity.
The homophobic and hateful comments made by Kenyan politicians are contributing to a volatile public attitude toward the LGBT community which has resulted in attacks, intimidation, and sexual abuse against them. Sign the petition below to condemn William Ruto’s irresponsible and vitriolic anti-gay remarks.
Dear Deputy President William Ruto,
During a church worship service, you recently made disparaging comments about homosexual persons, claiming that there is “no room for gays in Kenya.” These, paired with remarks from Prime Minister Raila Ortega about the gay lifestyle being “unnatural,” is contributing to an air of intense homophobia in Kenya.
This homophobic sentiment has resulted in widespread intimidation, abuse, and violence against the LGBT community. Large mobs of teenagers have reportedly beaten, killed, and burned the houses of homosexual individuals. Advocacy groups claim that these violent mobs are paid and encouraged by politicians.
As a public figure, it is irresponsible of you to make comments promoting hatred and abuse against any Kenyan citizen. We, the undersigned, condemn your public vilification of the LGBT community and demand that you issue an apology.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron