Gay Kenyan pastor the first to publicly marry – and now he has to flee
By Joe Morgan
A Kenyan gay couple say they have become the first to publicly marry, but it is a decision that has led to them being forced to flee the country.
Edwin and Isaiah are living in what they describe as a ‘cave’ following their wedding in February.
The two are now hoping to make it to Tanzania or Zanzibar in the hopes of asylum.
Edwin, a 37-year-old who works as a pastor in the Lutheran church, and Isaiah, a 25-year-old laborer, first met through Facebook through a mutual friend. After three years of chatting, they decided to meet last year.
‘In Kenya, meeting somebody is not easy. But when I met him, it was like my dream, it was the person I was looking for,’ Edwin told Gay Star News.
They entered into a long distance relationship, with Edwin preaching in Tanzania and Isaiah at home in Mombasa, Kenya.
But when they reunited, and Edwin found a church in Kenya that accepted him and his partner for who he is, they wanted to celebrate their union.
So around 80 people gathered in the compound of his church in the village of Mtitu Andei, and a fellow pastor came to bless their union. The majority of people first thought it was a bit of a joke, but soon realized their mistake.
‘The Kenyan government may not have a law for our marriage, but we were married under God’s law,’ Edwin said.
‘In Kenya, most of the people only marry for love. That’s what we did. I now have somebody in my life.’
This is believed to have been the first same-sex wedding in Kenya, or at very least the first to receive a blessing from a religious leader.
Other Sheep, a Latin American-based Christian group, found out about the wedding and went to Kenya to congratulate them and posted a blog to commemorate it.
Subsequently, a couple days after it had been posted, Isaiah had gone into the city center to buy feed for their chickens. His brother followed him. Someone had told him about the wedding. He had brought friends, and started beating his own brother up.
Edwin came to Isaiah’s rescue before a mob could pummel him to death. He escaped with heavy bruises and cuts on his body.
Afraid, they are now attempting to raise the funds to stay with friends in Tanzania, Zanzibar or elsewhere.
Edwin has no regrets about allowing someone to write about him, in fact, he’s proud of it. He wants people to know and understand what is happening in his country.
‘I know I have to go through this, and I know that some are following me. I will not regret who I am. If it means I have to die, I will die,’ he said.
‘This is my life, why should I hide? If God makes his decision, I will accept it.’
He added: ‘We cannot change the world by staying quiet. We can only change the world by talking, taking action, and speaking out.’ Gay Star News