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Uganda president: I might not sign anti-gay bill

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Uganda’s New Vision newspaper reports that on Dec. 25 President Yoweri Museveni turned back a Pentecostal leader’s appeal  to sign the Anti-Homosexuality Bill that parliament passed last week.

Instead, Museveni said he will review the text of the bill before deciding whether to sign it into law. He said, “I will first go through it. If I find that it is right, I will sign, but if I find that it is not right, I will send it back to Parliament.”

The bill would provide the possibility of a life sentence for repeat violators of anti-homosexuality laws, but the official text of the bill has not been released, so the specific provisions are unclear.

Museveni’s statement came as he and his wife, Janet Museveni, were attending Christmas prayers at the Pentecostal

Church’s Daystar Cathedral in Southwestern Uganda.

Logo of Uganda's Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law
Logo of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law

The LGBTI rights organization Spectrum Uganda commented about Museveni’s statement, “Is this a sign of hope to the Ugandan LGBTI community OR it was a political statement to confuse supporters of the bill and those affected by the bill?”

The coalition of Ugandan LGBT rights groups, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law, said the bill “it is blatantly unconstitutional, is against international human rights standards, is redundant for the most part, and would wreak havoc on the fight against HIV/AIDS and other public health priorities in Uganda”:

Furthermore, that it would be used to strip ordinary Ugandans of their freedoms and rights. However despite our protests, the bill was passed by Parliament and is awaiting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to sign it into law. We call on the President to reject discrimination and reject this Act.

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Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. After his retirement from paid newspaper work in 2011, he launched Erasing 76 Crimes and helped with the Spirit of 76 campaign that assembled a multi-national team of 26 LGBTI rights activists to advocate for change during the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C., in July 2012. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, including the Erasing 76 Crimes news site and the African Human Rights Media Network. Contact him via Twitter @76crimes or by email at info@76crimes.com. Mailing address: 21 Marseille, Laguna Niguel CA 92677 USA.

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