[Editor's note from November 2012: In the months since this report appeared, the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda has not publicly backed the "Kill the Gays" bill, nor denounced it. That leaves unclear whether Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga was merely in attendance at the meeting that endorsed the bill, or was actually supportive of it.]
[Further editor's note from December 2013: Archbishop Lwanga has been more publicly supportive of LGBT people, including welcoming them to a celebration of World AIDS Day.]
The Catholic Church in Uganda has apparently changed its position on the country’s so-called “Kill the Gays” bill, calling on parliament to pass the measure.
The Ugandan Daily Monitor newspaper reported that Catholics joined in that new stance at the recent ecumenical conference organized by the Uganda Joint Christian Council, which represents Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches.
Bishops at the conference urged the parliamentary committee that is studying the bill to approve it and send it to the House. They said the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Law is needed in response to “an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage,” the newspaper reported.
Clergy approving that stance included archbishops Henry Luke Orombi (Anglican), Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (Roman Catholic) and Metropolitan Jonah Lwanga (Orthodox).
Lwanga previously said that, although he opposes homosexuality, the bill is “at odds with the core values” of Christians. He said in 2010:
“The Church … teaches the Christian message of respect, compassion, and sensitivity. The Church has always asked its followers to hate the sin but to love the sinner… In our view, the proposed [law] is not necessary considering that acts of sodomy are already condemned in the Penal Code.”
Under current Ugandan law, homosexuals can be subject to life imprisonment.
“The Catholic Church had previously been the sole major religion in Uganda in opposition to the bill,” Gay Star News reported.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, proposed by Ugandan parliament member David Bahati, is often called the “Kill The Gays” bill because it called for the death penalty for repeated homosexual activities. Bahati says that provision has been dropped, but many people doubt him. The bill would also require people to report suspected homosexuals to the police.
Articles on the Catholic Church and Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill, from Box Turtle Bulletin
Feb 17, 2011: Wikileaks Posts Cables from US Embassy in Uganda Concerning Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Feb 17, 2011: More Wikileaks Cables on Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 10, 2011: Wikileaks: Ugandan First Lady “Ultimately Behind” Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 11: 2011: More On Ugandan First Lady’s Support For Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 11, 2011: Wikileaks: Vatican Lobbied Against Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill
Sep 12, 2011: Wikileaks on Uganda’s Homosexuality Bill: Museveni “Surprised” and Buturo “Obsessed”
Sep 12, 2011: Ugandan Presidential Aide Confirms Wikileaks Conversation
Sep 23, 2011: Ugandan First Lady Affirms Support For “Kill The Gays” Bill
- Uganda’s Catholic Bishops Reverse Their Stance to Support Anti-Homosexual Bill (newwaysministryblog.wordpress.com)
- Uganda gives hope to LGBT people, resists outside pressure (76crimes.com)
- Uganda: Religious leaders seek return of anti-gay bill (claimyourinnocenceworld.wordpress.com)
- Uganda: Bishops want shelved anti-gay Bill revived (queerchurchnews.wordpress.com)
- Ugandan clergy keep pushing anti-homosexuality bill, but … (76crimes.com)
- Ugandan Religious Leaders Want ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill Revived (towleroad.com)
- Uganda official threatens planned interfaith conference (76crimes.com)
- New Zealand lesbian MPs fight Uganda ‘kill gays’ bill (76crimes.com)