Family Research Council‘s president Tony Perkins in 2010 claimed that Uganda’s infamous “Kill The Gays” bill merely was an effort “to uphold moral conduct that protects others.” The Ugandan Kill The Gays bill in fact allows for the lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality, allows for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” and allows for the criminalization of same-sex marriage, punishable by jail time, and even calls for the forcible extradition of Ugandans who violate the law.
But Perkins, whose Family Research Council spent at least $25,000 lobbying the U.S. Congress on the bill (FRC claims they lobbied Congress only to remove “pro-homosexuality” statements from a congressional statement denouncing the bill, while others believe they lobbied Congress to not denounce the bill at all — we’ll never know, will we?) in this 2010 “Washington Watch” radio commentary, below, claims the Kill The Gays bill “calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children.”
Perkins minimizes what the bill does, cherry-picking and massaging its text.
Clause 1: Expand the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to”touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.”
Clause 2: Affirm Uganda’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
Clause 3: Define a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging. It also requires anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
Clause 4: Criminalize “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment for seven years.
Clause 12: Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
Clause 13: Criminalize “promoting” homosexuality with fines and imprisonment for between five and seven years. This overly-broad provision would criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda . It would also criminalize any attempt to repeal or modify the law in the future, as those moves could also be seen as “promoting” homosexuality.
Clause 14: Require friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment for up to three years.
Clause 15: Reserve trials for “Aggravated homosexuality” for Uganda’s High Court. All other can be tried by magistrates.
Clause 16: Make the law applicable to all Ugandans living or visiting abroad via an extra-territorial clause.
Clause 17: Subject persons living abroad to extradition.
Clause 18: Void all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
Apparently, Perkins believes these laws are merely “efforts to uphold moral conduct.”
Supporting the concept of placing a loving same-sex couple in jail — possibly after forcible extradition from another country — is merely an “effort to uphold moral conduct”?
Supporting the expansion of the definition of homosexuality to make it easier to convict people of the “crime” of being gay is merely an “effort to uphold moral conduct”?
Supporting the throwing of someone in jail for the “crime” of discussing homosexuality is merely an “effort to uphold moral conduct”?
Does civility require the acceptance of all behavior? Hello, I am Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality. The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans. The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us.
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