David Bahati, the lawmaker infamous for his Kill The Gays bill, has reintroduced it into the Parliament of Uganda again today. Also known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, or AHB, it prescribes he death penalty for the “crime” of being gay or HIV-positive, and prison sentences for friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances who believe someone is homosexual but does not immediately report them to authorities.
Last summer Bahati and his cohorts attempted to ram the bill through Parliament, then waged a stealth campaign to get it passed, but ran out of time when Parliament closed. Many news reports erroneously stated the bill had been “shelved,” possibly due to pressure from the United States and other Western countries, but that was false — although President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, and later, the U.S. State Department, along with other world leaders have spoken directly against the bill.
Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin notes:
It is now early evening in Kampala, and in an apparent sign of the Parliament’s lack of transparency, today’s Order Paper is still not posted on the Parliament’s web site. However, a copy has beenmaking the rounds on the Internet, showing that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009, is scheduled for its first reading today.
And Warren Throckmorton adds some legal background:
According to Parliament spokeswoman, Helen Kawesa, David Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill is on the agenda to be tabled for a first reading in today’s session of Parliament.
Kawesa said, “The bill will go through a new process again. It is a new Parliament.” This means that the bill will be referred today to a committee for study and recommendations. According to the Kawesa, the entire process of a first reading, referral to committee, public hearings and then a committee report to Parliament will be followed. She said, according to the rules of Parliament, the bill cannot be passed today.
She said the bill was basically the same bill as was almost considered in the 8th Parliament. She had no explanation for why the bill was not being considered where it was stalled back in May, 2011.
UPDATE: 8:15am – According to a person in the plenary session of Parliament, Speaker Kadaga said the bills renewed from the 8th Parliament will be read for the first time today but reports on the bills from the 8th Parliament will be used as a basis for moving toward a 2nd reading and debate. If true, this means that the time from first reading to second reading, debate and possible passage will be much shorter than would be true if a new bill was introduced.
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