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Cablegate: Accreditation of Same-Sex Domestic Partners

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHOR #0173 0561411
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 251411Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY GABORONE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 6302

C O N F I D E N T I A L GABORONE 000173

SIPDIS

FOR AF/S, AF/EX, AND M

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/25/2020
TAGS: APER AMGT PREL BC
SUBJECT: ACCREDITATION OF SAME-SEX DOMESTIC PARTNERS

REF: A. STATE 788
B. 09 GABORONE 1052

Classified By: Ambassador Stephen J. Nolan; Reason 1.4 (b) and (d)

1. (C) Per instructions in Ref A, Ambassador raised the
issue of accreditation of same-sex domestic partners of U.S.
government personnel with a senior aide to President Khama.
The aide said Botswana remains a very traditional society and
homosexuality is an extremely sensitive subject. She noted
that the GOB would likely not/not be amenable to accrediting
same sex domestic partners, since this would represent a
direct challenge to Botswana's culture and laws. We
understand that the GOB has on several occasions turned down
applications by European diplomatic missions for
accreditations of same-sex domestic partners of their staff.
The aide said that Botswana has, in effect, a "don't ask,
don't tell" policy on same sex personnel, and although the
GOB would not accredit a same-sex partner as a diplomatic
family member, the GOB would not object to the partner's
residency as long as the partner applied through seperate
channels and has an independent work-related reason to be in
Botswana (the case of one of our Mission families).

2. (C) Comment: Homosexuality is considered to be illegal in
Botswana. The criminal code penalizes "unnatural acts,"
which are commonly assumed to include homosexual activity.
Still, the government is generally tolerant of its (very
quiet) gay community. As we reported in ref B and our Human
Rights Report, there have been no reported cases of arrests
or harassment of homosexuals in Botswana and the overall
societal attitude seems to be one of "don't ask, don't tell."
However, society and official policy still disapprove of
homosexuality and there seems little chance that this will
change any time soon. Therefore, post believes it would be
counterproductive to push the GOB further on the
accreditation issue at this time. End Comment.
NOLAN

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