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Ugandan Parliament Likely to Take Up ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Soon

Ugandan Parliament Likely to Take Up ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Soon

Reports suggest that the Ugandan Parliament will take up the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 at some point in the next few months. The bill is more widely known as the “Kill the Gays” bill for its mandate of the death penalty for so-called repeat offenders.

Rumors had circulated for a while following a statement from speaker of parliament Eward Kiwanuka Sekandi that, when Parliament reconvened for its lame duck session starting this coming week, it would be to resolve “unfinished business” which, when asked, he said did include the anti-gay bill.

Last week brought further indications that the bill would be taken up with a statement from legal and parliamentary affairs committee chairman Stephen Tashobya.

From The Advocate:

UGPulse reports on the Thursday announcement from legal and parliamentary affairs committee chairman Stephen Tashobya.

“Tashobya says the committee will hold public hearings where stakeholders’ views will be heard and a report made to the House for debate and possible passing before Parliament closes the 8th Parliament.”

Stephen Tashobya also 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 comes as former Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo made his final media tour before resigning. During the tour he called on lawmakers in the Eighth Parliament, who have until May before their term expires, to continue the war on homosexuality, saying “I am leaving when the battle against prostitution and homosexuality is still going on. I urge Ugandans to continue rejecting homosexuality.”

The bill’s author David Bahati has remained adamant throughout the passed two years that the bill should pass. He told NTV this week:

I’ll be working with my colleagues to talk to other members of Parliament to ensure that this bill is debated and concluded before we close the Eighth Parliament.

We are working with religious leaders, we are working with people in the legal fraternity, we are working with parents and schools…

While the key focus has of course been on the death penalty clause, there are many chilling aspects to the bill.

One such facet would see gay Ugandans living abroad being called back to the country to face charges over their homosexuality. Another would have family or friends outing those they know to be gay to the police, or they themselves would risk jail terms and fines. And, in place of the death penalty should it be stripped from the bill, the threat of forced conversion therapy as a so-called “cure.”

The bill is so overreaching, in fact, that there is the possibility that health workers would be classed as complicit if they did not report those they suspected of being gay. It has even been suggested that provisions guarding against the “promotion” of homosexuality could even allow for the prosecution of attorneys who defend gay clients.

Not directly related but certainly timely, the U.S. House Financial Services Committee last week passed an amendment that would discourage financial aid to countries like Uganda that are actively seeking to further criminalize or that already persecute citizens on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity. Read more about that here.

Take Action: Justice for Ugandan LGBT Activist David Kato. Sign the Petition!

Related Reading:

European Parliament Calls on Uganda to Properly Investigate David Kato’s Murder

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to U.S. Army Africa.

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91 comments

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4:17PM PDT on Mar 27, 2011

This is inhumane.. signed the petition.

1:10PM PDT on Mar 26, 2011

Shameful... Petition already signed.

8:35PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Go to YouTube and watch "The Ally Effect". This young coach is amazing and will help make the world a better place for all gays.

6:22PM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

They have been encouraged in this stance against gays by American so-called fundamentalist Christian members of our Congress. These immoral creatures start enough trouble in our own country, and should keep their ungodly noses out of other people's business, and quit stirring up trouble.

5:29PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Vernon doesn't even know how babies are made so it's doubtful he has a clue what gay or straight mean either.

4:28PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Vernon C: Could you please stick your press communicate called bible into your bottom parts of your body? THank you.
I am straight and I am not so aroused by the gay lifestile. However, I don't give a damn and nobody should give a damn o what people do in their bedroom.
For all anti-gay christian bla bla bla pseudo-moral dudes, I have only one question: When did you choose to be straight?!

3:59PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

Unfortunately it is not the only country in this beautiful world we live in that punishes with death the let´s say sexual "issues" like gay/lesbianism or adultery. They might stone you to death or burn you alive if you're not a virgin and so on...

2:55PM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

This is what the lack of education does to your society and mental health. It kills and causes a lifetimes of war.
Education is the only answer.

7:50AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

@Vernon C. Clearly you don't understand real democracy and freedom. Unfortunately the West has not a good record: Germany coerced into following the nazis and Russia the state communists, to name the most obvious. Both countries are examples of the extreme right and left who have abused state power to control the masses and vilify minority groups, which is exactly what you, the Ugandan government and ignorant, bigoted religious leaders are doing to the LGBTQ community. In a real, people's democracy, their has to be a consensus reached, taking into account everyone's views, including minorities. That is how a real democracy should function, not some majority stomping their jack boots to impose their "morals", and actually threaten to KILL minorities because they are different to you! It's no one's business what consenting adults do in their private lives. The way you judge homosexual acts can equally be applied to heterosexual ones (except puritanical religio-fascists, I would imagine), so by all accounts you are probably condemning yourself with your own stupid hypocrisy - if you believe in all that monotheistic god bashing?

2:09AM PDT on Mar 23, 2011

If they support that bill, I hope all western countries end aid to them until they end the bill.

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