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Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill on the Backburner?

Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill on the Backburner?

According to the AFP, members of a Ugandan parliamentary panel stated on Friday that, while backing for Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 still exists, support has wained and focus has turned elsewhere to matters of economic and electoral reform. Also indicated was the fact that no date has been set for when the bill should go before Uganda’s lawmakers for a formal vote, and nor will it in the near future.

From the AFP:

“I think it is useless and will not achieve what it intends to achieve,” said Alex Ndeezi, a member of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee tasked with reviewing the bill before it can be presented to the house…

The panel’s chairman Stephen Tashyoba said the draft law was not a priority.

“As far as I am concerned, we really have more urgent matters to discuss like electoral reforms, which are already behind schedule,” he said.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, dubbed the “Kill the Gays Bill”, would create the offense of “aggravated homosexuality” which, under certain circumstances, could mean the death penalty for repeat offenders and any sexually active gay person with HIV/AIDS.

Among other penalties, it would also demand a jail term for intent to commit homosexuality, and would call for the extradition of gay Ugandans so that they might be charged under the law. It would also make it an offense to know someone that is gay but to not inform the police about that person’s sexuality, and would render HIV/AIDS relief efforts and education programs practically untenable. To read the full text of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009, please click here.

The bill has received widespread condemnation from the international community since it was introduced by MP David Bahati last year, with countries such as Switzerland and the U.S. warning that passage of the bill might have serious implications for the financial aid that Uganda receives.

Last week, 120 British MPs signed an Early Day Motion condemning the bill and requesting that the British Government and the European Union press Ugandan lawmakers to abandon the proposed law and to decriminalize homosexuality altogether. While an Early Day Motion is rarely debated in the House of Commons, such motions are often used to declare an MP’s personal views on a topic, or to draw attention to a specific cause or issue. 

It is widely thought that the creation of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill was influenced by certain American evangelicals that, in March of last year, attended a conference in Uganda entitled “A Seminar on Exposing the Homosexual Agenda.” You can find more information on the possible American ties to this bill by going here.

While there are still strong forces pushing for the bill to be passed, perhaps chief among them Ugandan Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo who rather infamously told gay and lesbian Ugandans to “forget about human rights” and to get out of the country, it is known that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, has said that, due to the fact that this has now become a matter of international relations, parliament should go slow and carefully weigh the legislation. He has even suggested that the more stringent aspects of the bill, including the death penalty, should be dropped, and has indicated that he would be inclined to veto the bill if this was not done.

It is known that there are several Ugandan legislators who also oppose the bill, many of whom feel that existing laws that criminalize homosexuality in the country are strict enough.

A formal vote on the bill was expected after Uganda’s parliament returned from recess in February, but that vote never materialized, and, as signaled above, this does not seem to be a priority in the near future.

However, it would be premature to call the bill dead in the water, as the legislative process in Uganda is often tumultuous and unpredictable. Rather, this latest statement perhaps signals the slow abandonment of a bill that once looked certain to become law.

Thanks to international pressure, whether from world leaders like President Obama who labeled the bill “odious” and called for it to be scrapped, to the many religious quarters that also came out against the bill such as the leader of the Anglican church, Rowan Williams, who said that the bill was completely at odds with the Anglican ethos, and all this teamed with considerable opposition from within Uganda itself, the bill has now been marked as an unfavorable battleground for Museveni and Uganda’s lawmakers and is likely to be seen as just too damaging on all sides to be allowed to pass, at least in its current form.

While this most recent news seems somewhat encouraging, it is imperative that we continue to apply pressure until the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009 is firmly abandoned and not just watered down.

Care2 Action:
Urge President Museveni to veto the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. Sign the Care2 petition today.

Already signed the petition? Thank you! Please consider forwarding it to your friends to spread the word. To find out more on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, links to our continued coverage of this story are provided below:

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Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to Steve Conover.

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122 comments

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8:42AM PDT on Apr 20, 2010

completely ridiculous. how can people be so ignorant?

9:37AM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

Hm.
Thanks for the article

12:54AM PDT on Apr 18, 2010

this bill is an abomination and being gay is the way certain people are born so take you heads out of the sand, realize that they are human beings, and burn that damn bill!!!!!

1:19PM PDT on Apr 15, 2010

How can people argue about whether being gay is a choice or not in these comments? The article is about a horrible bill that could discriminate against many people, spread misinformation about HIV/AIDS, and even sentence some people to death. Even if you think that being gay is a horrible "sin" how can you not see the injustice being done to the people in Uganda? Even if being gay is so "horrible" no one should have to be sentenced to death because of it.

6:35PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

I must comment again .... I agree with so many other posters on this site that GAY people are born, it's not a choice so why would God punish them for something that happened to them inside the womb of their mother? Live and Let Live! Mind your business! If gay people are not bothering you, leave them alone and let them live their lives in peace.

6:23PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

As far as I'm concerned sexual orientation has nothing to do with religion or God. It's all the haters in our world who are making a big issue for gay people.

3:14PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

(0),
since i was unable to send you a personal message, i will place my answer to your message on the board.

I beg to differ with you. I do not KNOW homosexuality is wrong. The only reason such a 'big deal' is made about it is because, the bible,writen, rewriten, and translated by men, and organized religions say it is bad.
you say you hate homosexuality and wish it didnt exist. Do you know what you are saying?
Only because it is not a race or religion,are you not a racist. the only way to erradicate homosexuality is to get rid of homosexuals..
If homosexuality was a race or religion, you realize you would be a racist, or a bigot, at
the very least.
If God is perfect, and I believe He is, then everything he creates is perfect in His eyes. God loves everything He creates, and every thing is created for a purpose.

1:32PM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

What's all with this religion stuff? Any religion can (and is) interpreted as one needs/wants because its manmade. People created religions (and have been doing so since humans evolved) as a life-guideline, to find comfort in their actions, fulfill their feelings, and feel emotionally sheltered. In fact, it's scientifically proven that humans feel the need to believe in 'something greater' than them. So I guess debating weather or not the bible, god, allah, or any religious figure, accepts being LGBT, the fact remains that it is not a natural thing in the human species. Being LGB or Transsexual, only means that something has gone wrong with the particular person, either in his/her emotional status (due to malfunctioning hormones) or a wrong combination of hybrid chromosomes. (Usually, NORMALLY, human males have the XY chromosomes and the Female has XX). SOME plants, fish, insects and a small number of animals are transgender or change sex when needed, but are naturally programmed to do so, to procreate, propagate or reproduce. Can I be any more clear than that? Don't get me wrong, I don't hate homosexuals, but I hate the act of homosexuality, especially their pride. (And no I'm not playing with words, there is a difference) The only LGBT I tolerate and admire, (NOT in their sexual act) are the ones who know to be different, aren't proud of their sexuality, and wish their families, friends, kids (if any) & loved ones to be normal sexually orientated, thus different from th

8:11AM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

Mimo,

Again, I must respond publicly to you because no e-mails can be delivered to you. (I'm not even certain any longer if you are a real person or the representative from some extreme rightwing group. I am going to ask Care 2 to look into that.)

Now, what I wanted to say in reply:

Please believe me when I tell you that I am not trying to offend you, but I have a suggestion to make. I don't know what has happened to you in your life, to make you so angry and bitter, but that is not healthy - not for you nor for anyone who is around you. You seem to be taking your anger and hatred out on everyone on this site with whom you disagree. That is also unhealthy.

I would like to suggest to you that you seek some help for your anger and hatred from your physician or from a local mental health office. If you cannot afford it, many places will see you on a sliding scale, according to your income.

I think you would be a much happier person, if you could get some professional help. Having read some of the messages you have sent not only to me, but to other Care 2 members, as well as your posts, it is clear that you are inwardly a very miserable person. I actually have come to feel sorry for you.

Please seek help. It is available.

6:58AM PDT on Apr 14, 2010

according to sociological studies over the last 50 years, when compared statistically, straight men molest chiuldren far more often than gay men. if you want to erradicate child-molestation (and i think we all do) start working on the straight men first!

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