UGANDAN legislators just won’t let go of their obsession to outlaw homosexuality. Like a dog returning to its vomit, they are reported to be planning once again to debate the country’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
It was first introduced as a private member’s bill by MP David Bahati in October 2009. Bahati is an evangelical Christian and a member of the Fellowship Foundation, also known as the Family, a US-based Christian and political organisation which arranges the annual prestigious National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
In a press release issued this week, the UK gay charity, the Pink Triangle Trust, said:
If enacted, the bill would greatly broaden the criminalisation of homosexuality by introducing the death penalty for people who have previous convictions, are HIV-positive, or engage in same-sex acts with people under 18 years of age.
The bill also includes provisions for Ugandans who engage in same-sex sexual relations outside of Uganda, asserting that they may be extradited for punishment back to Uganda, and includes penalties for individuals, companies, media organisations, or non-governmental organisations that support LGBT rights.
Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), voiced disappointment over the revival of the bill.
We thought it would come back, but with all the condemnation from local and international human rights groups we had hoped that Bahati would reconsider it, or that parliament would move to strike it down immediately. It is just bringing everything bad up again, but we remain committed to fighting it and challenging it in all ways possible.
The PTT’s secretary, George Broadhead, said:
We are appalled that after such a long time this heinous piece of legislation may still become law. Much of the homophobic bigotry which is rife in Uganda and other African countries emanates from religious sources, including US evangelical Christians.
It certainly emanates from the Anglican Church of Uganda which states on its website: ‘The Church of Uganda appreciates the spirit of the Bill’s objective of protecting the family, especially in light of a growing propaganda to influence younger people to accept homosexuality as a legitimate way of expressing human sexuality.
We particularly appreciate the objectives of the Bill which seek to: provide for marriage in Uganda as contracted only between a man and woman; prohibit and penalize homosexual behaviour and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family; prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols, agreements and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of the Act; prohibit the licensing of organizations which promote homosexuality.’
Unfortunately the vast majority of the population are Christian and clearly greatly influenced by these malign bible-based policies.