And so it arrives, with the most harshest penalties back on the table: Uganda’s Kill The Gays bill has been introduced in Parliament by lawmaker David Bahati. And despite word from Ethics Minister James Nsaba Buturo that the death penalty and life imprisonment sentences were being abandoned, Bahati’s bill includes them both.
It’s all an effort to go after child molesters, insists Bahati, who says the death penalty is reserved for adults over 18 having sex with minors. But there’s even more that makes the bill — expected by many to become law early next year — so deplorable. Like in Lithuania, even talking about homosexuality could be considered “propaganda.” And, thus, punishable under the law.
The Ugandan bill extends existing laws to make it illegal to promote homosexuality by talking or writing about it, and forcing people to tell the authorities about anyone they know who is gay. The bill, said Bahati, 35, an MP from the ruling party, aims to “protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sex promiscuity on the people of Uganda”.
This bill won’t just make the lives of Uganda’s LGBTs an absolute hell, it will make any form of activism — to reverse the country, and region’s trend of state-sanctioned homophobia — nearly impossible.
Normally when we think of a “hate crime,” we imagine a violent injustice inflicted upon a member of the community. But by making homosexuality a crime, and ruling an entire demographic as in violation of law, never before has the term held so much meaning.