Uganda: Anti-gay bill reintroduced in parliament


Uganda's parliament shelved its notorious anti-gay bill on May 13, 2011. Here members of the Ugandan gay community attend the funeral of murdered gay activist David Kato on January 28, 2011. Although the police claimed Kato's killing was the result of a petty robbery, many members of the gay and the human rights community charge the murder was a hate crime, a result of the climate of intolerance toward gays that grew because of the anti-homosexuality bill.


Marc Hofer

Uganda reintroduced its anti-gay bill on Tuesday, but dropped the death penalty provision, which was once the punishment for certain homosexual acts, the BBC reported.

"Our bill, our bill," was chanted and cheered by MPs when lawmaker David Bahati revived the draft legislation, the BBC’s correspondent reported.

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The Anti-Homosexuality bill was introduced in 2009 but was never brought before a full legislative body for a vote, the Associated Press reported. It was shelved in 2011 after it was denounced internationally, although it has received a wide range of support in Uganda. Homosexual acts are already considered illegal in Uganda and it is already law that someone who fails to report a person he or she knows to be homosexual could also be prosecuted.

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Bahati, a parliamentarian, has previously said that homosexuality poses a serious threat to family values and the introduction of this bill has raised public awareness, the AP reported.

A major change to the bill this time around will be the cancellation of the death penalty clause due to a recommendation from a parliament committee. A current reading of the bill has yet to be reported. In the original bill people could face the death penalty if they were found guilty of "aggravated homosexuality,” which is defined as when one of the participants is a minor, HIV-positive, disabled or a "serial offender,” the BBC reported.

President Barack Obama previously condemned the bill and European countries such as Sweden and Britain have said they would cut aid to Uganda if the bill were enacted, the AP reported.

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