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Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill Appears To Be Dead

by David Badash on March 25, 2011

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,International,Legislation

Post image for Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” Bill Appears To Be Dead

Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill, internationally-denounced legislation that would have prescribed all Ugandan gays to be put in jail for life, would have required reporting to the government anyone suspected of being homosexual within 24 hours, and possibly would have demanded the death penalty for the “crime” of homosexuality, appears to be dead.

A government subcommittee reportedly told reporters that the law duplicated other laws in Uganda, one of 83 countries where homosexuality is already illegal. David Bahati, an MP in Uganda’s Parliament and the chief proponent of the “Kill the Gays” bill, said of the two year-old bill’s apparent demise, “I think that the government is aware that 95 percent of Ugandans do not condone homosexuality,” according to a translation of a Spanish-language news report.

Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway also writes, “Uganda’s Information Minister was reportedly shown on television explaining that the bill will not be passed because other laws already exist which criminalize homosexuality. However, some parts of the bill may be attached to the Sexual Offenses Act. Which parts, we don’t know. Our source writes, “Bahati was panicked and tried to look defiant.”

The infamous bill received world-wide attention, especially for the portions that would have made the death penalty the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality.” Seven other countries already make homosexuality punishable by death.

While it remains unclear what prompted this change, it was widely-expected the bill would be debated and voted upon this week. Earlier this week, ahead of the Ugandan bill and thanks to a U.S.-led move at the United Nations, the international body voted to condemn violence against the LGBT community.

Read: “UN Gay Rights Vote Result Of Growing Global Support for LGBT Rights

Ugandan gay and human rights activist David Kato was brutally murdered on January 26 of this year as he worked to defeat the “Kill the Gays” bill. News of his death prompted statements of condolence around the world, including from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, as well as a renewed focus on the “Kill the Gays” bill. The U.S. Secretary of State was widely-credited for this week’s successful UN vote.

Kato’s killer or killers have yet to be charged, and the government had claimed at one point Kato’s murder was the result of self-defense because Kato had sex with his suspected murderer. These claims have been denounced as baseless.

Read: “David Kato’s Death Result Of Hatred Planted By U.S. Evangelicals

Last year, a Ugandan newspaper, Rolling Stone, (unrelated to the U.S. magazine) itself became the focus of news around the world for several front-page anti-gay stories it published, which included names, addresses, and photographs of prominent homosexuals, while urging readers to “hang them.”

Bahati, who earlier had said of the “Kill the Gays” bill, “It is popular here,” also has made a name for himself internationally, amid reports he is connected to “The Family,” also known as “The Fellowship,” an American clandestine political and religious group based in the now-infamous “C Street House.” Bahati in 2009 said homosexuality “is a behaviour that is learned and it can be unlearned,” and, “Homosexuality it is not a human right. It is not in-born.”

Bahati also has ties to mega-church pastor Rick Warren, who in late 2009 finally (somewhat) came out against the “Kill the Gays” bill.

The “Kill the Gays” bill is widely-believed to be the brainchild, or at least created based on the teachings of American Evangelicals, including Scott Lively.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for updates.

(h/t Blabbeando)

(image: Ugandan PM David Bahati)

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Ella March 25, 2011 at 7:18 am

That is the right move for Uganda to take if they wish to be apart of a civilized world. I am surprised that no one realized then when this bill was being drafted that it duplicates existing laws? I believe there are other sound reasons as to why they are backing down at this time. What Uganda needs to focus on is the improvement of human rights and the full decriminalizing of homosexuality. Those ''95 percent'' of Ugandans who harbor intolerance for homosexuals do so on the basis of ignorance and fear. If the government, University AND the church lead the way in educating people about their misconceptions, the majority will change their homophobic ways.

Thommen March 25, 2011 at 3:32 pm

Please note, that it is unbelievable that the earlier colonialism country, GB, has already changed the antigay law. And in front of this, the ex-colony would it saw better and is making the opposite. This would be creazy! The fact, that english colonialsm would forbit the homosexual act, should memorize the well educated MofParliament, that homosexuality was existent before the western colonialism and was a integrated part of Ugandian Culture! Why did they forgot this??
Remembering the years of 1970s, see the religious motivated antigay-defamation-campaign of Anita Bryant (>> wikipedia!) with her battle cry; "Murder a gay for Jesus"! A fundamentalistic Djihad… The hard facts are, that always the politic is falling back in concentration camp methods or brownest fashism…
WE have to be aware of this, with our responsability, education an defending human rights!

Patricia Kayden March 26, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Good to hear that this crazy bill has failed. I am sure that the threat of losing $$$ from donor countries played a major role in this change of heart.

I pray for the safety of gay Ugandans.

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