Kenya’s legal same-sex marriages

From the BBC:

Homosexual acts may be outlawed in Kenya but there is a long tradition among some communities of women marrying each other. This is hard to fathom in a country where religious leaders condemn gay unions as “un-African” – and those who dare to declare their partnerships openly often receive a hostile public reaction.

But these cases involving women are not regarded in the same light. If a woman has never had any children, she takes on what is regarded as the male role in a marriage, providing a home for the younger woman, who is then encouraged to take a male sexual partner from her partner’s clan to become pregnant. Her offspring will be regarded as the fruit of the marriage. “I married according to our age-old tradition, where if a woman was not lucky enough to have her own children, she got another woman to honour her with children,” says 67-year-old Juliana Soi.

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Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “Kenya’s legal same-sex marriages”

  1. I’m not sure why the article says it’s “hard to fathom.” The relationship is culturally accepted. What is not culturally accepted is a sexual union between the two. Is it not a case of where a cultural norm, because of its very nature, has the capacity to transcend itself and usher in a new and different interpretation. So rather than a “bafflement” it gives hope within the whole area of gay relationships. It’s always the sexual issue that people just can’t get their minds around.


    1. Yes. Indeed it is, Don. It is difficult for me to relate to the idea that there is one “right” or “natural” way for two consenting adults to be sexual, but Christianity has a long history of this kind of thinking. Saint Augustine believed very intensely that the man always had to be on top, demonstrating the woman’s position of submission. Having the woman on top was really a bad/wrong thing to do. His ideas are really not radical, though, given the patriarchy of Christianity. That’s kind of one of my main points when I discuss this with conservative Christians: the homosexual prohibitions are rooted in a patriarchical notion that a man must not defile himself by taking a submissive position.

      A submissive man is an abomination. Also detestable to traditional xianity is that “yucky” factor that you mentioned. Many people think that gay sex is wrong because it just feels so weird and unnatural to them.I was having a Facebook conversation with a conservative Christian on this very issue, and he objected to the yuckiness argument by saying that God would not put someone to death just because of something that was “gross.” Tis the hermeneutical circle I suppose, in full swing!


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