‘Kill the Gays’ bill looms; it’s time to prepare protests

Entranceway to Uganda's parliament building. (Photo courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement)
Entranceway to Uganda’s parliament building. (Photo courtesy of The New Civil Rights Movement)

Prepare to protest, opponents of the “Kill the Gays” bill say, as the measure comes ever closer to consideration on the floor of the Ugandan parliament.

Today the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had moved up to No. 1 on the Notice of Business to Follow after action on the day’s parliamentary agenda is completed.

“Prepare your solidarity actions, please. The time is dawning on us,” stated the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law. an alliance of groups opposing the bill.

The coalition said, “The bill is likely to be tabled anytime this week or early next week.
It has moved up to No.1 on the order of business to follow. This means that after parliament is done with the order paper business, [the bill] could jump onto the order paper officially.”

Here is its upward progress in the Notice of Business to Follow so far this year:

  • 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.
  • No. 1 on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Here’s what is likely to happen next, according to Uganda watcher Warren Throckmorton:

Since today’s agenda is quite full, I imagine that some of what is planned for today will carry over until tomorrow. Thus, it seems unlikely that the bill will come up tomorrow. If the Speaker’s priorities remain the same, it could come to the floor Thursday or early next week. …

It appears that the bill will come up for a second and third reading at some point in the next two weeks.  Given the opposition of the Executive branch, it may be that some maneuver will take place at the last minute to keep it from a vote.

The blog Oblogdeeoblogda states:

This means the controversial Bill which enjoys 89% popularity in Parliament, is very close to being debated and seems likely to be heard this week.

Once read the Bill can be assented to by President Museveni or he can send it back twice to Parliament with a refusal to assent, in which event, on the second return to Parliament, it can be passed on a two-thirds majority vote.

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.

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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