Uganda ‘Kill the Gays’ bill remains a threat, just off stage

Uganda parliament building
Uganda parliament building

Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which failed to reach the floor of parliament in the sessions of 2009 and 2012, remains in the wings this year, awaiting action that LGBT activists hope never comes.

In the early days of this year’s parliamentary session, the bill gradually moved higher on the Notice of Business to Follow list in the daily Order Papers, but then it stalled just off stage:

  • 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.
  • No. 5 on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
  • No. 4 on Thursday, Feb. 21.
  • No. 2 on Tuesday, Feb. 26.
  • No. 3 on Wednesday, Feb. 27.
  • No. 5 on Thursday, Feb. 28.
  • Tuesday, March 5, special sitting to mourn first deputy Prime Minister  Eriya Kategaya; adjourned until Tuesday, March 12.
  • No. 3 on Tuesday, March 12.
  • No. 3 on Wednesday, March 13.
  • No. 3 on Thursday, March 14.
  • Parliament in recess until April 2 so members can consult with constituents about the Marriage and Divorce Bill.

The Anti-Homosexuality 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.

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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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