Gay Mauritian says he is ‘overjoyed’
London – 5 October 2023
In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Mauritius has declared the country’s ban on same-sex intimacy ‘discriminatory’ and ‘unconstitutional’.
The case was brought by Abdool Ridwan Firaas Ah Seek, the president of the local LGBT+ organisation Collectif Arc-en-Ciel, with support from the Human Dignity Trust in London.
Abdool sought to challenge the constitutionality of Section 250 of the Mauritian Criminal Code, a colonial-era provision that criminalised consensual adult same-sex relations, punishable by up to five years in prison.
Pliny Soocoormanee, a gay Mauritian and Executive Officer at the human rights organisation the Peter Tatchell Foundation, said he was ‘overjoyed’ at the decision.
Pliny said: “I am overjoyed that after 185 years of LGBTs being criminalised in Mauritius, this homophobic law has finally come to an end. We were never asking for special treatment – just equality and respect. Mauritius may be small but the message this sends to the world is huge. Criminalisation in every country belongs in the past. As a gay Mauritian, this day will live with me forever.”
In its judgment, delivered on Wednesday, the Supreme Court emphasised that Mauritius is a democratic secular state, finding no justifiable reason for the state to intrude into the private lives of LGBT+ individuals.
The judges further acknowledged that the plaintiff’s sexual orientation is “natural and innate… cannot be altered and is a natural variant of his sexuality.”
The court unequivocally ruled that Section 250(1) of the criminal code is discriminatory and unconstitutional as “it criminalises the only natural way for him and other homosexual men to have sexual intercourse, whereas heterosexual men are permitted the right to have sexual intercourse in a way which is natural to them.”