A Kenyan judge temporarily lifted a ban on the film “Rafiki,” making it eligible for Oscar consideration.
The film, which follows a love story between two young women, had been banned by the Kenyan Film Classification Board for “promoting lesbianism.”
The ban went back into effect after seven days.
The film’s director, Wanuri Kahiu, had sued the film board so the film could be submitted as Kenya’s entry to the Best Foreign Language film category of the Academy Awards.
Kenya’s film classification board director Ezekiel Mutua said the film was banned because of homosexual scenes.
He later tweeted: “That’s not who we are and homosexuality is not our way of life. Shame on those foreign NGOs who want to use gay content as a tool for marketing the film industry in Kenya.”
While sex acts between women are not specifically mentioned in Kenyan statutes, sex acts between men are illegal and carry a penalty of 14 years in prison.
In 2010 Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for the arrest of women who have sex with women, stating that “the constitution is very clear on this issue and men or women found engaging in homosexuality will not be spared.”
Sources: All Africa, The Nation (Kenya), BBC News