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Botswana becomes 19th African country to decriminalize homosexuality

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In a highly-anticipated verdict, High Court of Botswana on Tuesday ruled to decriminalize homosexuality, which is outlawed under the country’s 1965 penal code. Thus, Botswana becomes the 19th country on the continent to decriminalize homosexuality.

Judge Michael Elburu “set aside” the “provisions of a Victorian-era” and ordered the laws be amended.

At the high court hearing in Gaborone in March, state officials argued that Botswana society was not yet ready to change its attitude towards homosexuality.

In 2016, the country’s appeal court ruled that the government was wrong to refuse to register an organization that represents minority sexual groups.