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Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Set to Return

Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Set to Return

 

Uganda’s 9th Parliament appears to be acting quickly to ensure that the country’s now infamous Anti-Homosexuality Bill gets a hearing as soon as possible, and perhaps as early as the end of August.

Uganda’s 8th Parliament failed to pass the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, nicknamed the Kill the Gays bill for its death penalty provision for repeat offenders, before the end of its tenure in May of this year. However, lawmakers seem keen to make up for lost time with Dr. Warren Throckmorton, a close follower of the bill’s progress, reporting that MP Hon. Otto Odonga told him in a recent phone call the legislation will be resurrected by lawmakers perhaps as soon as “by the end of August.”

Commentators were unsure whether Uganda’s lawmakers would have to go through the process of re-introducing the legislation, with the inherent procedural hurdles to once again navigate, or whether Parliament would be within its power to carry over the bill alongside other legislation that was not voted on last session.

It now appears the legislation has been carried over alongside a bill to reform marriage and divorce proceedings and a Government Assurances bill, meaning that when Parliament does take up the anti-gay legislation (and their determination to pass this bill suggests it is a “when” and not an “if” at this point) progress toward passage will likely be swift.

Though the 8th Parliament consistently flirted with the idea of striking the death penalty, that provision was never actually removed and therefore it still sits alongside the legislation’s other grave breaches of human rights, which 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 or people with disabilities, 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 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 last session 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.

As is the case with the general style of politics in Uganda, a great deal remains uncertain — what is not, however, is that the Parliament appears set on enacting the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

Related Reading:

MP Vows to Persevere with ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill
Ugandan Parliament Committee Backs Death Penalty Inclusive Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Ugandan LGBT Rights Activist Given Martin Ennals Human Rights Defenders Award

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thansk to US Army Africa

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57 comments

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10:42AM PDT on Aug 7, 2011

So very sad and painful to know that such hatred and fear exist anywhere in the world. Let's put all our focus on influencing the hearts and minds of Ugandan lawmakers so that they may act with love and compassion for the best possible good of all their citizens.

12:52PM PDT on Aug 6, 2011

too bad they decided to waste so much energy on this and so many problems need more urgent attention

1:28PM PDT on Aug 3, 2011

OK, before the bill passes Uganda politicans and people should be warn of the following:
1. If the bill passes, Western Democraies will not do any business in Uganda.
2. We sever all diplomatic relations and close embassies there.
3. There will be absolutely no aid going to Uganda for any reasons.
4 All of Uganda's politicans who vote for this bill will be arrested if they leave Uganda and turned over to the Hague for crimes against humanity.

It is time Uganda understood they can't get away with operating like Nazi's, whether in the name of some God or not. It is also time that the world, governments of all stripes be put on notice that the old way of doing things is finally over. The Hague and the UN need to play a larger role.

12:33PM PDT on Aug 3, 2011

What do you expect from a third world useless ass backwards place like Uganda!

10:01PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Ok, but I don't understand the jump from "need and use" to "violence"

Was this J.Krishnamurti a part-time philosopher?

7:00PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

"Our present relationship [to one another] is based on need and use. Such a relationship is inherently violent, and that is why the very basis of our society is violence."
~J.Krishnamurti.

6:57PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

I agree with Zoe on this one, I don't think Derp meant the country or it's people, just the ignorant politicians and clergy.

6:21PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

So wrong and pointless.

4:09PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Not again! This bill is an insult to everyone. The rest of the world need to unite and let Uganda know that this is completely unacceptable and offensive. It's time to come out of the uneducated dark ages. All people are equal and should be treated accordingly.

3:54PM PDT on Aug 2, 2011

Did anybody seriously think that this issue was going to go away just because the Ugandan legislature dropped it the first time?

Of all the things American that you could be emulating, Uganda, why did you have to pick the ugliest--hate?

As for Derp H.'s comment, I read between the lines, and what I think I found was a too-true comment about legislators, whether Ugandan or American, European or Asian, focusing on the wrong things--homosexuality and "gay-bashing"--instead of working to solve more important problems. Any country can be a $%#?!hole for the oppressed.

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