Uganda’s anti-gay bill dead for now, but likely in 2013

Pope Benedict XVI greets Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament.
Pope Benedict XVI greets Rebecca Kadaga, speaker of the Ugandan parliament.

The Ugandan parliament has adjourned for the year, taking no action on the dreadful Anti-Homosexuality Bill that the parliament’s leader, Rebecca Kadaga, had promised would pass as a “Christmas gift.”

Ugandan activists who led a well-organized international fight against the bill can claim a victory, but they didn’t do much celebrating because they expect the bill to return when the parliament reconvenes early in 2013.

In the last week of the parliamentary session, an appeal from former South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu urged Uganda to reject the bill, saying, “God does not discriminate among members of our family. God does not say black is better than white, or tall is better than short, or football players are better than basketball players, or Christians are better than Muslims… or gay is better than straight. No. God says love one another; love your neighbour. …  I urge the people of Uganda to reject hatred and prejudice. Love comes more naturally to the human heart than hate.”

In related news:

  • The victory came shortly after Kadaga received a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI during her visit to the Vatican.  He did not speak about the bill, which the Catholic Church has opposed in the past.   Today, the pope used his World Peace Day message to speak against same-sex marriage.
  • In addition to hailing the victory, the online activist group AllOut.org  implied that its online petition against the bill was a crucial factor in the bill’s defeat.  The group suggested that supporters should donate to AllOut.org to help it fight the bill again in 2013.
  • Pro-LGBT blogger Melanie Nathan said the AllOut.org claim was incorrect and exploitative.  “This claim by ALL OUT, run by Americans,  is completely without foundation,” she stated.
  • The Media Matters blog noted how little attention U.S. cable news networks have devoted to the Ugandan bill. Citing a study by EqualityMatters.org, it said, “Since Uganda’s Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga vowed in late October to bring the anti-gay law to a vote, cable news networks have spent just over 15 minutes covering the issue.”
  • Morris Ogenga-Latigo
    Morris Ogenga-Latigo

    In commentary published in The Observer in Uganda, former Ugandan opposition leader Morris Ogenga-Latigo said the consideration of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had “become a real national tragedy — of denial and hiding of our moral guilt; [a] hate campaign against unfortunate members of our society. … Yes, Parliament can enact the anti-homosexuality law but it will not be a “Christmas gift” to this country.  For, Jesus Christ who was born on Christmas day was a Christ of compassion and love, a sacrifice for sinners, and a Christ to heal and redeem but not condemn and sow hatred.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, and editor/publisher of Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

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