Editor’s note: For the most up– to– date news on Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill,visit our Uganda section.
Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill, which would make life in prison or possibly death the penalty for being homosexual or having same-gender sex, is back on the table in the parliament of Uganda. A petition signed by a reported two million Ugandans was presented by anti-gay activists, led by a right-wing zealot, Pastor Martin Ssempa, to Speaker of the Uganda Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, on Wednesday. The “Anti-Homosexuality bill,” also known as the AHB, reportedly died an unexpected and sudden death exactly two weeks ago, when Uganda President Yoweri Museveni claimed the bill — which has been public since 2009 –is now “redundant.” MP David Bahati, who sponsored the bill and has been working on it for at least two years, at the time of the bill’s demise, did not appear to be willing to let the bill die.
Speaker Ssekandi said Wednesday, upon being presented with the petition, “even if the current Parliament doesn’t debate it, the new Parliament will do it,” leading some to believe the bill could find its way out of the Committee on Legal and Parliament Affairs and into Parliament, presumably at some point, for a vote.
“We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of western nations,” Pastor Ssempa, leader of Uganda’s Inter-Religious Taskforce Against Homosexuality, said, adding, “These same nations who promote democracy don’t want our representative to discuss laws to protect our children from the human trafficking of recruiting our children into homosexuality,” according to a report by Voice of America News.
The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Bill has received world-wide attention, especially for the portions that would make the death penalty the punishment for “aggravated homosexuality.” Some reports suggest the death penalty has been removed from the current text of the bill, but this has not been confirmed, and the bill’s text is fluid until voted upon. Uganda, which has a population of over 32 million, is one of 83 countries where homosexuality is already illegal, and seven other countries already make homosexuality punishable by death.
The “Kill The Gays” bill, which has also become known as the “Bahati bill,” is necessary, according to the team of Pastor Ssempa and David Bahati, because homosexuals are supposedly “recruiting children” in Uganda, and, the two claim, paying them large sums of money to have same-gender sex or to become homosexual. The petition delivered on Wednesday, came with a list of nineteen organizations that they claim are “promoting” homosexuality in Uganda.
But no one has ever provided actual proof. Bahati, who has a Cardiff University MBA, has been repeatedly asked in this country by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow for any proof of these allegations. Bahati promised to provide it but never has.
Anti-gay activists and religious leaders have declared war on the LGBT population of Uganda. Ssempa and Bahati claim that college student recruitment is “rampant,” and students are paid monthly salaries to become gay.
No one, not even the dead, are safe. Ssempa has presented people he claims are ex-gays, one of whom claimed he was given alcohol and then raped by David Kato, the leader of Uganda’s LGBT community, and who was beaten to death in January after a local newspaper ran front page stories with his name, address, and photo, along with dozens of others, and the title, “Hang Them!”
No one has ever been brought to justice for the death of David Kato.
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.
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