Editor’s note: For the most up-to-date news on Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill, visit our Uganda section.
Pastor Martin Ssempa, the religious leader who has teamed up with M.P. David Bahati, author of the infamous “Kill The Gays” bill, Monday told lawmakers — members of the Uganda Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee – ”The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society.”
Monday is the second day in a row that Parliament has debated the Kill The Gays bill, also known as the “Anti-Homosexuality Bill,” or AHB, which, if signed into law in its current form, mandates 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,” even anyone with HIV.
In a surprise move, however, Ssempa, echoing Bahati’s suggestion that he might “concede” the death penalty provision, Monday said death should be replaced with a mandatory seven year prison sentence.
“Ssempa and others … continue to claim homosexuality is imported from the West, is a threat to Ugandan children and needs to be legally stopped,” said Christopher Senyonjo, a Ugandan Bishop working to defeat the bill, according to a special report in SDGLN, which writes,
“Bishop Christopher said he is convinced that the bill will move forward to Parliament and if passed, it will be up to the president to veto it. International pressure from the U.S., the United Kingdom, the European Union and human rights organizations is intense, but Ugandans are being greatly influenced by anti-gay American missionaries from the Religious Right and from the extremely conservative Anglican Church in Africa.”
Parliament’s session ends this week, and the bill could be voted upon Tuesday or Wednesday.
“Frank Mugisha, the director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, a gay rights group, said that if parliament takes up the bill he believes it will be passed,” according to a story Monday in the AP. “However, parliament’s session ends this week and it is not clear if there is enough time to deal with the legislation this session.
“Bahati has said the bill can be dealt with next session if parliament runs out of time.”
Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin reminds that “the bill would still remain a potent threat to human rights. The bill would lower the bar for conviction, making mere “touching” for the perceived purpose of homosexual relations a criminal offense. It threatens teachers, doctors, friends, and family members with three years imprisonment if they didn’t report anyone they suspected of being gay to police within twenty-four hours. It also would broadly criminalize all advocacy of homosexuality including, conceivably, lawyers defending accused gay people in court or parliamentarians proposing changes to the law. It even threatens landlords under a “brothel” provision if they knowingly rent to gay people.”
Bottom line: the Kill The Gays bill refuses to die, thanks to American-religious leaders-backed David Bahati and Martin Ssempa.
Let’s not forget that this all came about in large part thanks to the folks of The Family, aka, The Fellowship, that C-Street-based political/religious group that quite possibly is housing your Congressman, with tax-breaks, no less.
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