Banana v State, Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, [2000] 4 LRC 621

Judgment of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe ruling that 'gender' does not cover sexual orientation and that criminalising sodomy is constitutional

In this case, the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe had to decide whether the common law crime of sodomy was in conformity with s.23 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which guaranteed protection against discrimination on the ground of gender. The Court held, by a majority of 3 to 2, that the term “gender” could not be construed to include sexual orientation, and, on that basis, the crime of sodomy could not be held to be unconstitutional. The majority opinion relied heavily on the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bowers v Hardwick 478 U.S. 186 (1986) which has now been overruled.