Uganda: Bloggers discuss anti-gay bill

The Ugandan anti gay bill has been tabled in parliament and now it awaits the president Yoweri Museveni to sign and make homosexuality officially illegal. The previous code was not clear but now the bill called “The anti homosexuality Bill 2009” tabled by a member of parliament David Bahati which states that any homosexuality act or tendencies might face the death penalty or face life imprisonment. The Ugandan writes:

The multiple laws that I will be breaking as soon as the president signs this law. Well, our detractors had already said that we would be stiffed with a tougher law, but this goes way beyond that. If I attempt to commit the offense… (god, the number of times that I have made passes and they have been rejected!) Each of those times was worth 7 years in jail. Good heavens!!!! Before, we could be liable to life imprisonment. gug hereby declares that, when the President of the Republic signs this law, gug will be liable to the death penalty… because I and my lover are serial offenders, breaking this law.

The bill further prohibits adoption by gay couples; any person who aids, promotes counsels any acts of homosexuality in any way will face up to seven years imprisonment, or risk a fine of sh100m. It states the ill effects of homosexuality as:

Research indicates that the homosexuality has a variety of negative consequences including higher incidences of violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and use of drugs. The higher incidence of separation and break-up in homosexual relationships also creates a highly unstable environment for children raised by homosexuals through adoption or otherwise, and can have profound psychological consequences on those children. In addition, the promotion of homosexual behavior undermines our traditional family values.

Given Uganda’s historical, legal, cultural and religious values which maintain that the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman is the basic unit of society. This Bill aims at strengthening the nation’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family. These threats include: redefining human rights to elevate homosexual and transgender behavior as legally protected categories of people.
There is also need to protect our children and youths who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise.

Producers, publishers and distributors of material containing homosexuality especially if a business, an NGO will have its certificate or registration canceled and the director will face seven years in prison. That includes gay blogs in Uganda:

Poor sympathizers. You are not left to love us. No, all lovers of gays, and gays in Uganda will suffer, and be punished by this law. Any press conferences? Not by gay Ugandans. You see, we are a pariah people that will never be like all other Ugandans. Ha ha ha ha ha!
Oh, the gayuganda blog is one of the things which are illegal, as per that bill. I am furiously promoting homosexuality on this blog, complaining about a law like this. So, 5 years in prison, and my (non existent) bank balance will be set back by 100M Uganda shillings…! And the people who dare to give us condoms and lubricant for sex… Or, if you dare to have an HIV prevention program for homosexuals in Uganda… or even try to teach safer sex. Well, the penalties are stiff. Very stiff. Jail, and jail and other things.

Here are the objective of the bill.

3.1. The objectives of the Bill

The objectives of the Bill are:

(a) To protect marriage as that only between a man and a woman in Uganda;

(b) To prohibit homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;

(c) To safeguard the health of Ugandan citizens from the negative effects of homosexuality and related practices;

(d) To establish progressive legislation protective of the traditional family that can serve as a model for other countries;

(e) To prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act;

(f) To ensure that no international instruments to which Uganda is already a party can be interpreted or applied in Uganda in a way that was never intended at the time the document was created;

(e) To withdraw from any international agreements to which Uganda already is a party, or file reservations to them, which are re-interpreted to include protection for homosexual behavior, or that promote same-sex marriage, or that call for the promotion or teaching about homosexuality as being healthy, normal, or an acceptable lifestyle choice, or that seek to establish sexual behavior, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or sexual minorities as legally protected categories of people; and

(f) To prohibit Uganda from becoming a party to any new international instruments that expressly include protection for homosexual behavior; promote same-sex marriage; call for the promotion or teaching about homosexuality or homosexual relations as being healthy, normal, or an acceptable lifestyle choice; and/or seek to establish sexual behavior, sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual minorities as legally protected categories of people

Gay Ugandan is urging you to take this cause with him and asks you if he deserves to die because of this:

If you are outside the country, why, that is very good. Your congregation can be made aware of all the good things that some Christians in Uganda wish some sinners called gay Ugandans. I am sure your outrage will help. A letter, a protest match, questions to leaders of Uganda, religious and otherwise traveling outside the country. This is a moral question, how can they justify killing me because I am gay, living in a gay relationship with another gay man?

# Ok, what of gay people in other countries. You are our friends. Yes, we dare to ask our gay brothers and sisters for help, especially when our countrymates believe we should be patriotic enough to ‘die’ in the name of their moral uprightness, for god and country.
Tell your local gay group about it.
Organise protests, big and small. Educate any who doesnt know about it.
Write letters of protest. Be courteous, (the framer of the bill says that we homosexuals want to kill him. He says we have already written him ‘threatening’ letters.)

Afrogay another Ugandan blogger compares the Ugandan to the government to the Nazis, he says the time to flag down the bill is now:

Again, as I have argued here and elsewhere, we are best advised to keep our powder dry for the real battle if the bill is ever passed and signed into law. So, I for one don't plan on saying too much about the nuts and bolts of what is wrong with it. And the reason is simple: if we point out what is wrong with it now, our detractors will use what we say to clean up the bill. Best then to shout foul as loud as we can on the discriminatory elements of the bill without guiding them around the glaring technical, legal, constitutional and human rights minefield they are sleep-walking towards with this bill.

A Nigerian blogger Anengiyefa thinks the bill is flawed and the panel who made the bill are ignorant about homosexuality, He says homosexuality cannot be an offense, you cannot punish someone for having sexual feelings for another person:

Mr Bahati goes on to demand the death penalty for what he calls “aggravated homosexuality”. I read this and I wondered if the said Mr Bahati has ever had the opportunity to sit inside a classroom in his life, given that unless he is starkly illiterate, he ought to know that there are no law books in any Common Law jurisdiction, (including Uganda), that refer to an offense known as ‘homosexuality’. Homosexuality cannot be an offense! You cannot make it an offense and punish a person for having feelings of sexual and emotional attraction towards others of the same gender. You cannot prove ‘homosexuality’ in a court of law to the standard of proof that is required in a criminal court.

Anengiyefa sees that Uganda has just seen hypocrisy of MPs who have unified and are ready to pass a law victimizing homosexuality in the name of morality: this beats the purpose why the system is so anxious to criminalize consensual sex amongst two adults of the same gender and omitting important issues like ethnic violence, tribalism, AIDS, child rape etc:

This outbreak of frenzied homophobia is the epitome of the hypocrisy that pervades political life in Africa. At a time when expensive legislative time should be judiciously expended on the issues that really matter to the people of the country; when Ugandan lawmakers and the Ugandan government should be concerned about the welfare of vulnerable Ugandans, (including those same-gender loving men and women in their society, who are susceptible to wanton physical abuse and discrimination); when the Ugandan authorities should be looking to protect those of the country's citizens whose welfare is their responsibility; when the challenges that face our continent in this 21st Century are enormous; what we hear of instead is an Anti-Homosexuality Bill being introduced to Parliament. This bill is deemed necessary according to the MP David Bahati who introduced it. He claims that the purpose of the bill is to protect children and the “traditional family”.


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