Uganda’s lawmakers are once again threatening to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, legislation that, if left unaltered, could mandate the death penalty for “repeat offenders.” The bill must be stopped, and we have a brief opportunity to try.
The 8th Parliament ends at May’s close, and with it the bill will finally die — if, that is, the bill’s author David Bahati and other virulent supporters don’t expedite a vote before then.
The legislation currently sits in the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee. Reports suggest that lawmakers in the committee have “put the bill on hold” but we’ve heard this before, and the legislation still has not been retired.
Lawmakers have said that they want an open discourse on the bill, even welcoming input from foreigners.
Stephen Tashobya, Chair of the Legal & Parliamentary Affairs Committee to the Ugandan Parliament told NTV, Uganda’s largest independent television network, (via Religion Dispatches):
“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has generated a lot of debate and interest in our population, both for and against. And we are sensitive about that interest.
“So we shall put out public notices for all types of people, for even foreigners, let’s have a [unintelligible] to come and appear before the committee and have this matter resolved once and for all.”
This is our chance to prevent the bill even reaching a floor vote.
If passed, Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill would start a witch-hunt for homosexuals in the country. Its punishments include:
- A 7-year jail sentence for consenting adults who have gay sex;
- A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages;
- Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad;
- The death penalty for adults who have gay sex with minors, consensual or no, or who communicate HIV via gay sex, regardless of condom usage or consent;
- Jail for anyone who doesn’t report suspected gay people within 24 hours;
- A ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality which is so open-ended that it would endanger HiV/AIDS treatment and sexual health clinics in the country;
- The ban could also be used to effectively exclude gay people from petitioning the courts by making those representing them liable for criminal action;
- Breaking all ties with international commitments and laws opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
These are just some of the ways in which this hideous legislation will endanger the lives and liberties of the Ugandan people.
Supporters of the bill, backed by certain American evangelicals, say this is about resisting a “gay agenda” but the only agenda here is preventing Uganda from sanctioning the human rights atrocities that must surely follow passage of legislation like this.
We have a brief window of opportunity to stop this bill. Let’s make the most of it.
TAKE ACTION: SIGN THE PETITION TELLING UGANDAN LAWMAKERS TO ABANDON THE BILL
To read more about the history of the bill, click here to read Care2′s past coverage.