Anti-gay bill with death penalty provision being debated in Uganda

This report uploaded on YouTube on September 7, 2010 examines the mindset behind the Ugandan "Anti Homosexuality Bill" which proposes that homosexuality should be punishable by death.

( The second day of hearings on an anti-gay bill controversial for its death penalty provision was held earlier this week in Uganda, reports the AP. According to the report, legislators indicated that the bill could be voted on this week.

The AP reports that a new version of the bill is likely to be presented before the final vote. The bill’s author David Bahati said last month that they have "moved away" from the death penalty provision.

Anti-gay pastor Martin Ssempa, who supports the bill, said on Monday that gays should face up to seven years in prison instead of the death penalty, reports the AP. "The parliament should be given the opportunity to discuss and pass the bill, because homosexuality is killing our society," he told the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee.

Meanwhile, retired Anglican Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said the bill will not put a stop to homosexuality, reports the AP. Instead, he said its passage would turn Uganda into a police state and could lead to an increased number of HIV/AIDS cases because gay Ugandans would be afraid to seek medical help. Arguing against the anti-gay bill supporters’ claim that school children are being recruited by gays, he said, "They naturally become so."

First proposed in 2009, the original bill mandated a death sentence "for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape... (and for) serial offenders," according to the AP. Life imprisonment would await those convicted of a homosexual act.

Under the bill, any person who "aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality" and landlords who rent space for homosexuals would face seven years in prison.

According to the AP, the bill has "attracted international condemnation." Cary Alan Johnson, executive director of the New-York-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, said, "Governments, world religious and political leaders, and HIV prevention experts have all appealed to Ugandan parliamentarians to put their distaste and fear of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people aside and use their better judgment."

An online petition on is soliciting signatures to demand Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to "stop the human rights violations by publicly vowing to veto the ’Kill the Gays’ bill." The petitions reads: "This hateful bill is part of a pattern of the Ugandan government’s violent repression of pro-democracy forces within the country and time is running out to stop it."

It appealed to Museveni, "Don’t let this law, and the worsening human rights situation in the country, make Uganda a pariah nation in the international community." According to the website, 300,000 people have already signed the petition.

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