‘Kill the Gays’ bill moves ever closer in Uganda

Uganda parliament building
Uganda parliament building

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which failed to reach the floor of Uganda’s parliament in the sessions of 2009 and 2012, is moving closer to consideration in the 2013 session.

It has gradually moved higher on the Notice of Business to Follow list in the parliament’s daily Order Papers since this year’s session began:

  • No. 8 on Tuesday, Feb. 5.
  • No. 8 on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
  • No. 6 on Thursday, Feb. 7.
  • No. 7 on Tuesday, Feb. 12.
  • No. 4 on Wednesday, Feb. 13.
  • No. 3 on Thursday, Feb. 14.

The Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law. an alliance of groups opposing the bill, warned earlier this week that the bill could be put to a vote any day now.

The bill, nicknamed the “Kill the Gays” bill, was first proposed in 2009 by member of parliament David Bahati. In the first version of the bill, which reportedly remains unchanged despite supporters’ statements to the contrary, repeat offenders would be executed.

Ugandan law already provides for sentences of up to life imprisonment for homosexual activity.

The bill would require people to report suspected homosexuals to police. Parents would be required to report potentially gay children to police; doctors would be required to report potentially gay patients; priests would be required to report potentially gay parishioners.

Organizations serving LGBT people, including health services fighting AIDS, would be outlawed.

If parliament approves the bill, it would go to President Yoweri Museveni for his signature. If he did not sign it, parliament could enact it on a two-third vote.

The Ugandan blog “Sebaspace” comments:

When all is said and done, the Anti Homosexuality Bill’s fate can only be decided once and for all if A) President Museveni finds a way of getting it thrown out of Parliament for good, B) Uganda’s Parliament comes to its senses and rejects it out on their own volition or  C) it is debated and passed and it goes to court for a final, legal, ruling on its constitutionality.

If Parliament stands its ground, Yoweri Museveni’s options are limited. In that happenstance, the solution to this protracted battle will be for Parliament to pass the bill, and the courts take it up, thereby finally taking the opportunistic politics out of play.

That blog, by the way, criticizes both the “Evangelical/right” and the “Liberal/Left,” saying that the Uganda bill “is but a mere Trojan Horse for their left/right ideological battle for hearts and minds. Uganda is but one of the battlefields on which they will fight to the death. Others are Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria, Ghana and so on.”

 

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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