Monday, August 15, 2016

Kenya Feel The Love Tonight

Ignorance abounds when it comes to sex and marriage between first cousins. Your first cousin is your parent's sibling's child. In many places in the world, and for most of human history, marriage between first cousins has been a common thing. There are, however, places where such marriages face discrimination, including criminalization. The US, where this blog is based, is a mixed bag because each state has their own laws. As such, about half of the states (some with restrictions) will marry first cousins, a handful of the others will criminally prosecute first cousins for having sex, and the remainder of the states neither criminalize sex between first cousins nor will marry first cousins.

But this news is not about the US, but rather Kenya. Martin Oduor reports at
If you didn’t know, it’s okay for cousins to have sexual relationships in Kenya!

Apparently Kenyan law hasn’t criminalized sexual relationships between cousins; high court ruling on an ‘incestuous’ relationship has stunned the nation.

High Court judge James Makau found that the Sexual Offenses Act did not mention cousins among the list of relatives under the offence of incest.
So it's legal. Apparently, some courts were not aware of what the law says and doesn't say, which is a problem.
Reading his ruling in a case where a woman took her nephew to court for having sex with her daughter, Makau stated that sex and marriages between cousins was permissible because there are no provisions for it in the law.

“The National Assembly did not leave out the clause on cousins by intension but by the fact that in some cultures in Kenya, like the Hundus and Muslims, allow sexual acts and marriage between cousins. It is not criminalized,” The Standard quoted the high court judge.
The law should be changed so that the criteria for adults having sex or marrying is consent. If they are adults and they consent, it shouldn't be discriminated against.
The accused in the said ‘incestuous relationship’ appealed the case at the High Court after a lower court found him guilty of incest and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
The High court found him not guilty of incest and suspended the jail term he had been handed by the lower court.
Ten years in prison! How outrageous! It's a good thing that was overturned.

UPDATE: Reaction from a few Kenyans.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for finding that Keith! A positive story. I am not surprised that that Kenya appears to have 'adopted' British law.
    It is perhaps unfortunate they weren't taken over by the French, and given the French laws on incest...i.e. no law against adult consensual incest. Cousin sex and marriage is legal in the UK and in Muslim parts of Africa it is probably the norm. Laws in the USA are so inconsistent on incest it seems like quite a joke.. only it is not funny for those caught up by them. Wiki says "According to a 2007 Gallup poll,[125] about 43% of Americans believe that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so." This is only slightly less than the 46% reported in a 2006 Gallup poll.[126] Only 14% believed that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process", despite 49% of respondents indicating they believed in evolution.[125] Religious thinking (fundamentalism?) seems to be a bit of a problem of the polls are correct.


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