It’s the measure that refuses to die: Just months after ending its session without voting on the notorious “Kill the Gays” bill, the parliament of Uganda has reconvened and put the odious legislation back on the calendar.
And according to reports, the death penalty is still attached.
Last fall, Head of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga put the Anti-Homosexuality Bill (AHB) on the top of the agenda, promising to pass it before the holidays as a “Christmas present” to the Ugandan people.
When that failed to happen, we hoped the measure was dead—or at least in a coma. But everyone’s back from break and ready to legislate some homicide: According to Gay Star News, Wednesday’s Order Paper, the daily agenda of Parliament, listed the bill on its to-do list.
“The AHB is rearing its face again, since parliament opened from its recess on 4 February, the bill has been scheduled on the list of business to follow at number eight,” said Geoffrey Ogwaro of Uganda’s Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Rights.
‘We as the CSCHRCL are opposed to this bill and we are surprised that even as parliamentarians are continuously being cautioned as to the economic, health, social, political and international relations ramifications if the bill is passed into law, they still insist on going ahead with it.
‘Our only hope is that if the bill gets to the floor for debate, that the debate will be informed and considering of the different dimensions on the issue. And that those MPs who are more critical in their approach will find the courage to air their views.’
The current version of AHB divides the crime of homosexuality into two categories: “Aggravated homosexuality”—sex acts committed by parents, authority figures, child molesters, HIV-positive people and repeat offenders—would be a capital offense. The “offense of homosexuality”—defined as any same-sex sexual act being in a homosexual relationship—would get you life in prison.
Failing to report LGBT people to the authorities would also be a crime.
This bill has been hopping on and off the parliamentary docket since 2009. We want to believe it’s just being used by politicians to whip up support among bigoted voters, but we can hardly assume it won’t come to pass.
Meanwhile, this morning President Obama will tuck in at the National Prayer Breakfast, sponsored by the Fellowship Foundation, a Christian fundamentalist group with ties to the “Kill the Gays” bill.
Almost makes you lose your breakfast, doesn’t it?