Catholic Bishops in Uganda have issued a call to revive the “Kill The Gays” bill, after claiming it is necessary to protect marriage and the Bible. Uganda’s three-year old, highly contested bill has met with international criticism of varying degrees, including from President Obama’s harsh warning and the Vatican’s 2009 claim that “Pope Benedict is opposed to ‘unjust discrimination’ against gay men and lesbians.”
The “Kill The Gays” bill is infamous around the world for its provision mandating the death penalty for anyone convicted of the “crime” of homosexuality, anyone convicted of same-sex rape, anyone who is classified as a “serial offender,” and even anyone with HIV. It has been sponsored since 2009 by MP David Bahati, perhaps Uganda’s most-infamous lawmaker because of his unwavering homophobia, and was again re-introduced in February to Uganda’s Parliament, but no word since then of its future.
Presumably, sensing inaction, “at the annual conference of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC), an ecumenical body which brings together the Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches, the bishops resolved that it should be brought back from the brink,” GayStar News reports, pointing to a report in Uganda’s Daily Monitor. GayStar News adds:
The UJCC said that the bill was needed to prevent what they called ‘an attack on the Bible and the institution of marriage’.
The Vatican came out strongly and publicly against the bill and, Wikileaks revealed, even lobbied against it.
Uganda watchers say that the change by the Ugandan Catholic church is ‘very serious’ and that the UJCC resolution was pushed by an Anglican bishop.
Another concern is that, according to the East African, Ugandan President Yowari Museveni is backing his wife, Janet, to take over from him in 2016.
She has close ties to American evangelical dominionist Christian groups and is widely believed to be a force behind the bill.
Award-winning activist Frank Mugisha, of Sexual Minorities Uganda, said: ‘We see a shift in public opinion and I guess it’s because many Ugandans are talking about homosexuality a lot.
‘There are some local leaders who are now willing to meet and talk to us.
‘The only problem we have is the belief people have that we are promoting homosexuality and recruiting children.’
Mugisha’s group has filed suit in a US court in the first known Alien Tort Statute case seeking accountability for persecution on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
They are suing the American evangelical extremist Scott Lively for creating the anti-gay climate in Uganda which led to the introduction of the ‘kill the gays’ bill.
The website of the Uganda Joint Christian Council remarkably states the Council “has continued to report solid progress since its inception in 1963 to build a society that harmoniously co-exists and promotes, protects, respects and upholds human dignity.” It adds that the “UJCC consists of the Church of Uganda, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Uganda Orthodox Church who are the founder members and whose faith is based on authentic teaching of the Bible and the Apostles’ Creed and accepts baptism by water in the name of the Trinity.”
“The Bill is at committee level and hopefully it will soon be brought back to the House for discussion. We are determined to fight to the end,” Mr Bahati said, according to the report in the Daily Monitor:
The anti-gay Bill has seen ups and downs with donors and international activists threatening to withhold aid should it be let to pass.
Among some of the propositions in the Bill was one of death and life sentence for those for those caught engaging in homosexuality for a second time.
However, Mr Bahati said these penalties had since been removed from the Bill.
In fact, those “penalties” — i.e., death or life in prison — have not been removed from the official version of the bill, contrary to reports in the media and assertions by Bahati. Bahati is closely related to the Washington, D.C.-based politico-religious house on C Street, known as “The Family.”
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.