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Kenya frees 5 arrested at alleged same-sex wedding

NAIROBI, Kenya – Five people arrested in Kenya last week for allegedly planning a same-sex wedding have been freed by police and told to flee their community to avoid trouble.

Police said they didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute the case.

Two of the men who were arrested had wedding rings in their possession. According to news reports, police were tipped off to the potential nuptials by local tribal chiefs, who believed that two men were going to get married at a seaside hotel near Mombasa on the southern coast of Kenya.

Although it is illegal for LGBT couples to marry in Kenya, same-sex couples traditionally get together with friends and family to declare their vows.

Gay sex is illegal in 36 countries in Africa. South Africa has legalized same-sex marriage, but it remains a hot-button issue there.

Gay-rights advocates believe Kenya is carrying out a pogrom against gays and lesbians.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says Kenya police, politicians, tribal chiefs and even the local media are inflaming the situation. They also point blame to two powerful religious leaders -- Sheikh Ali Hussein of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya and Bishop Lawrence Chai of the National Council of Churches of Kenya – for fomenting anti-gay protests.

Mobs have attacked gays and lesbians, and people have reported homosexuals to authorities.

Ken Williams can be reached at ken@sdgln.com or by calling (877) 727-5446, Extension 713.