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Uganda: anti-gay bill calls for death penalty

You think we have equality battles ahead of us? Nothing we’re dealing with compares to this:

Aggravated homosexuality will be punished by death, according to a new bill tabled in Parliament yesterday. …A person commits aggravated homosexuality when the victim is a person with disability or below the age of 18, or when the offender is HIV-positive. The bill thus equates aggravated homosexuality to aggravated defilement among people of different sexes, which also carries the death sentence.

The Bill, entitled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009, also states that anyone who commits the offence of homosexuality will be liable to life imprisonment. This was already the case under the current Penal Code Act. However, it gives a broader definition of the offence of homosexuality. A person charged with the offence will have to undergo a mandatory medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status. The bill further states that anybody who “attempts to commit the offence” is liable to imprisonment for seven years. The same applies to anybody who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage in acts of homosexuality” or anybody who keeps a house or room for the purpose of homosexuality.

Jim Burroway says over at Box Turtle Bulletin, there’s also an unbelievable free speech clause that punishes any Ugandan who has a same-sex relationship or “promotes homosexuality” while overseas. The bill faces little opposition among lawmakers, and as you might imagine, if any did oppose it, there’s no political incentive to do so publicly since that alone will put you under scrutiny under this law. And how about this nugget about the bill —

This drafting of this bill appears to have coincided with intense lobbying efforts by anti-gay activists following a conference held in Kampala which featured American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus International board member Don Schmierer. Exodus International released a statement “applauding” Don Schierer’s participation in the conference which ended with calls to strengthen Uganda’s homosexuality laws. Exodus International president Alan Chambers denies that Exodus supports criminalizing homosexuality. Scott Lively, however, defended criminal laws against gay people.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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