Spearheaded by the human rights group Avaaz and helped by Anglican priest Canon Gideon Byamugisha, the Ugandan parliament is receiving some 450,000 signatures collected online condemning the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. That’s a pretty impressive feat. It also won’t matter much at all.
Uganda’s lawmakers have made clear that they don’t care what the world says about how it governs, especially some silly fags with computers. In fact, the ethnocentrism of Uganda’s MPs is what’s bolstering support for the Kill The Gays bill in the first place; homosexuality is a Western problem, they believe, which is being imported by evil gays in Europe. The bill’s very purpose is to crack down on this.
And the last thing lawmakers — particularly David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor — are going to do is react kindly to nearly a half million people thinking they’re doing the wrong thing.
It’s a nice sentiment, gathering international support against what’s clearly an attempt to legalize human rights violations. But those signatures are best delivered to the lawmakers in the signers’ home countries, who can best put pressure on Uganda’s lawmakers. Sending — via what, email? — those names to Parliament could have the reverse effect: Inciting lawmakers to push the legislation through even faster, because nefarious outsiders are trying to infringe on the country’s sovereignty.