Uganda’s Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has told the AP that the Kill the Gays bill will be made law before the end of 2012. Lawmakers in the country are even calling it a “Christmas gift.”
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told The Associated Press that the bill, which originally mandated death for some gay acts, will become law this year.
Ugandans “are demanding it,” she said, reiterating a promise she made before a meeting on Friday of anti-gay activists who spoke of “the serious threat” posed by homosexuals to Uganda’s children. Some Christian clerics at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as “a Christmas gift.”
First we must yet again correct the mainstream media when it comes to the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009: the bill still carries the death penalty provision for repeat offenders convicted of the crime of so-called “Aggravated Homosexuality.”
Yes, during the push to have the bill pass during the 8th Parliament there was a recommendation made by the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to nix the death penalty aspect of the bill. That recommendation was never adopted and the bill, as it stands in draft form waiting to be taken up by the 9th Parliament, retains the death penalty mandate.
It certainly seems that Uganda’s lawmakers are primed to act, too. Only recently did they pass a resolution praising Kadga’s anti-gay stance after she told a Canadian foreign affairs minister who had threatened to cut off Uganda’s aid should the bill pass that Canada could keep its money and that Uganda would press ahead regardless.
At the time of passing this resolution of support, there was also a call for action on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, earmarking a Christmas point of action:
The House also urged the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs committee to immediately table its report on the Bill for general debate.
The committee’s chairperson Steven Tashobya yesterday said their report is almost done and will be brought to Parliament before it breaks off for Christmas recess. MPs across the political divide in a plenary session chaired by Ms Kadaga denounced homosexuality and said the country’s moral values are threatened by cultural inventions from the western world.
The legislation, which President Obama’s administration has previously called “odious,” is formally titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009.
It was originally introduced as a private members bill by MP David Bahati who, until this year, has been its chief advocate. With Bahati’s conspicuous silence in recent months, Kadaga now appears to have taken up the reigns.
The bill was inspired by American evangelicals who, not content with a rising tide of gay rights legislation in the U.S., have decided to export their anti-LGBT agenda abroad.
The bill that, under international scrutiny, came to be known as the “Kill the Gays” bill has many more outright offenses to human rights than just the death penalty mandate.
- 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 or people with disabilities, consensual or no, or gay sex with a partner who has HIV, 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 so open-ended that it would endanger HIV/AIDS treatment and sexual health clinics in the country, and could effectively exclude gay people from petitioning the courts by making those representing them liable for criminal action;
- A mandate to break all ties with international commitments and laws opposing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
The parliamentary committee which reviewed the bill during the 8th Parliament also recommended a number of additions to the bill, including a penalty on “conduct[ing] a marriage ceremony between persons of the same sex,” which would be punishable by three years in prison, and also a recommendation to bolster provisions to make “attempted homosexuality” an offense.
In fact, the bill’s nomenclature is so overreaching that analysis has shown it could be used to prosecute anyone at virtually any time without a shred of proof.
It is worth noting that while President Yoweri Museveni has in the past urged a “go-slow” on the bill, he is known to support it in spirit if not in deed. Furthermore, we must stress that Museveni, while being able to send legislation back to parliament for a re-vote, has no strict power to veto legislation. This means that if Parliament is intent on passing the Kill the Gays bill, it can do so without override.
In the past, Care2′s remarkable readers have in their thousands signed a petition to oppose this bill. We know that international pressure has stalled the bill before.
Please, make your voice heard right now and tell Uganda it must abandon the Kill the Gays bill. Sign the petition!
Image credit: Thinkstock.