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Botswana gay group sues government for denying them registration

GABORONE, Botswana - A group representing lesbians, gays and bisexuals in Botswana has taken the government to the country's high court, appealing a decision by the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs not to register their association.

In court papers presented on Thursday, the applicants argued that they had come together as an association under the name Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LEGABIBO) and that they had already developed a constitution governing and regulating their group.

They want the court to declare the decision of the ministry to refuse the registration of LEGABIBO to be unconstitutional, discriminative and a denial of their right to enjoy equal protection of the law.

In setting aside the decision of the minister, the applicants want to be allowed to assemble and associate under the name and style of LEGABIBO. The applicants allege that on February 16, 2012, LEGABIBO made a registration application with the Registrar of Societies but the Director of Civil and National Registration rejected the application on March 12, 2012 on grounds that the country does not recognize homosexuality.

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