Kenya criminalises homosexuality but allows for straight polyandry and polygamy

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When opponents claim same-sex marriage could lead to polygamy maybe they should look at Kenya – the country criminalises homosexuality – yet two Kenyan men have signed an agreement to marry the same woman.

Community policing officer Adhalah Abdulrahman persuaded the two men to marry the woman after he saw them fighting over her in Mombasa county

Sylvester Mwendwa, one of the husbands, said he decided to share her with Elijah Kimani.

The unnamed woman had been having affairs with both men for more than four years and apparently refused to choose between them.

Lawyers said the marriage would only be recognised if they could prove polyandry – a woman having more than one husband – was part of their custom.

Mr Mwendwa told the BBC he loved the woman and that the contract was intended to “set boundaries” and “keep the peace”.

“She is like the central referee. She can say whether she wants me or my colleague,” he said.

Kenyan family lawyer Judy Thongori told the Daily Nation newspaper that the law does not explicitly forbid polyandry.

“The laws we have do not talk about it but for such a union to be recognised in Kenya, it has to be either under the statutory law or as customary marriage. The question we should ask now is whether these people come from communities that have been practising polyandry,” she is quoted as saying.

Consensual sexual activity between men is illegal under Kenyan law and carries a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Polygamy refers to the practice of having more than one spouse – it is legal in Kenya although in recent years attempts have been made to remove it from the statue book.

Polyandry refers to one woman with multiple husbands.