Some clergy in Uganda join forces to protect LGBTI people

Clergy and lay people seeking safety and protection for LGBTI people in Uganda will gather tomorrow, Feb. 14, for the third annual Standing on the Side of Love conference in Kampala.

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba
The Rev. Mark Kiyimba

The focus of this year’s conference will be:

  • Safety and protection of LGBTI human rights defenders in Uganda.
  • Formation of a national pro-LGBTI religious leaders forum.
  • The status of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in parliament.

The Rev. Mark Kiyimba of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Uganda is campaign manager of the Standing on Side of Love Project in Uganda.

The most outspoken clergy in Uganda tend to seek increased penalties for LGBTI people rather than protection for them. The Church of Uganda (Anglican) and many evangelical Protestant churches have been active supporters of the Anti-Homosexuality bill, which earned the label “Kill the Gays” bill because at least its original version (and the current version, many say) provided for the death penalty for repeat offenders.

The Roman Catholic Church in Uganda has been relatively quiet about the bill, but last year Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga was at least in attendance at a meeting of religious leaders that endorsed the bill.

In contrast, Kiyimba has been a prominent opponent of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as has retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo, founder of  the St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Center in Kampala.

Participants are this year’s conference will include human rights defenders, donors, civil society institutions, pro-LGBTI religious leader and the members of the general public. During the conference, participants will exchange ideas and experiences on LGBTI rights issues and the next steps to take to protect and improve the safety of  LGBTI people in Uganda.

Local sponsors are:

Standing on the Side of Love is an interfaith public advocacy campaign, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association, that seeks to harness love’s power to stop oppression.

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 [email protected]


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  1. I heard Archbishop Cyprian was not at the meeting last year and did not add his signature to the Ugandan Joint Christian Council’s call for debate of the Bill.

    • I have heard rumors that the archbishop did not approve the statement that came out of that meeting, but not that he didn’t even attend that meeting. Here’s a news report from shortly after the meeting (possibly incorrect, of course) stating that he was there and that he signed the resolution seeking passage of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

      He really should make his position clear!

      — Colin Stewart

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