New Movements in Uganda And Kenya Prove Anti-Gay Laws Are Never Dead In Africa

stopwitchhuntinggayugandansJust two weeks ago, there was great news coming out of Uganda: a court struck down the county’s jail-the-gay law, albeit on a technicality. The good news was short-lived: a move is already underway to reinstate the law. Worse still, Kenya has decided that to go one further and is considering a bill that would legalizing stoning gays to death.

The Kenya bill is just starting to gain momentum. The Republican Liberty Party has proposed making homosexuality a capital offense or at a minimum worthy of life in prison. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill would reserve the death penalty for non-Kenyans, but would broadly criminalize anything gay under the guise of “protecting the children.”

In a touch that seems directly lifted from the American evangelicals who have been promoting antigay hatred in Africa, the proposal also argues that sexual orientation is not an inborn characteristic.

Meanwhile, Uganda is shooting for a kinder, gentler homophobia. Whether or not Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was given a lecture by President Obama during his recent visit to the White House, he seems to be acknowledging, in a warped way, Western concerns. 

“We agreed to come up with a new version that doesn’t hurt our Western friends but also protects Ugandans,” Medard Bitekyerezo, a ruling party lawmaker, said.

What that means is a bill that would not criminalize consensual homosexual sex between adults, but that would make it illegal to “recruit” or to exploit economically vulnerable men. In addition, the law would institutionalize long-discredited homophobic myths, giving the government imprimatur to antigay attitudes in the culture.

That will gladden the heart of Scott Lively, our own homegrown homophobe, who has been tireless in his promotion of antigay legislation around the world. Of course, there’s still that pesky matter of the crimes-against-humanity lawsuit that Lively is facing for his work in Uganda. Of course, that’s what happens when you meddle with laws. Sometimes they come back to bite you.