Uganda: Court Victory for Ugandan Homosexuals

A Ugandan court has ruled against Rolling Stone - Uganda from publishing the identities and place of residence of gays, lesbians and transgendered people. Justice Vincent Musoke ruled that the action by the magazine to publish names of gays and lesbians will threaten and endanger their lives. He ordered Uganda's Rolling Stone magazine to pay $650 in damages and court costs for each of the three activists who sued the magazine.

The case was filed by three people from Ugandan gay rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), whose pictures and towns of residence were published in a previous issue of Rolling Stone.

Last year the Rolling Stone published 100 pictures of Uganda's “top homos” with their names and where they lived. The Managing editor Giles Muhame claimed that children are being lured into homosexuality and that society needs to know whoever is recruiting them.

Temporary injunction was granted
by the court last year following an application by Sexual Minorities Uganda:

The Uganda tabloid Rolling Stone has been ordered by the High Court to stop publication of the names and photos of people who it believes are gay and lesbian saying this was “an invasion of privacy”

Ugandan blogger, Gay Uganda, has been pleased with the permanent injunction that is going to bar any further outings by Rolling Stone or any other related media. Gay Uganda has expressed his happiness on the ruling:

Oh yes. Fitting that my first post of the year is of a victory, won in the courts of Uganda, by gay Ugandans.
See, last year, the Rolling pebble, a nascent newspaper decided to brush up its circulation by doing what others had never dared to do before. Publishing the photos of purported gay Ugandans. And, the exhorted the population to ‘Hang Them’
Three of those supposedly gay people took them to court.
Won an injuction, temporarily, to stop the publication of 100 Homosexuals. And inciting the public to ‘hang them'…. or whatever.
Now, that injunction is permanent.
Yep. It is a victory. And, I am so happy that it has been so.
[…]the judgement says it is simply unconstitutional.

“Another victory, another step, another smile,” says Gay Ugandan Teen:

Sitting here in my bedroom at 11:00pm, I’m reading about the recent victory of our gay activists against the rolling trash can. Another victory, another step, another smile. […]
The unbeatable fact is step by step gay people in Africa and other parts of the world will be seen as equal human beings, and all that is good and truthful is on our side…nothing and no one can work against the tide of what is right and just for long, they all fall eventually. Ssempa is in mid-air right now. You don’t go spreading lies and hate and think you’ll be a happy human being. Sorry! The universe does not work that way! When will we learn that? What goes around people!

Random says that this is a wonderful way to start the year:

Today, it made it to the news that the High Court of Uganda had ruled in favour of the plaintiffs in a case against the infamous Rolling Stone, the tabloid that had launched a scathing ‘war on homosexuality’ by publishing names and pictures of people the editors felt were gay. Though I do not have the details yet, I am glad this has come to pass in my time. It is an awesome way to start the year, and though the ruling was delayed a few weeks, I know it would have made a wonderful Christmas gift.

[…]For now, we celebrate this victory at home. We can live in peace, and not be worried about being outed by a semi-literate, bloodthirsty, ignoramus called Giles Muhame.

This is not the first time a Ugandan court has decided in favour of gay people:

…you'll also know that this is not the first time a Ugandan court is deciding in favour of gay people whose rights have been infringed upon. A couple of years ago, there was the case against the attorney general, where the police and some local council officials had abused several rights of two lesbians in Kampala. This is progress. Two cents, but progress. We may not be getting the right to marry, but that's not what we're asking for. All we are asking for at the moment is for the right to be alive, and to be respected as the human beings we are.

Wamala Dennis posts the ruling:

In considering whether the Rolling Stone’s publication of alleged homosexuals’ names, addresses and preferred social hang-outs constituted a violation of the applicant’s constitutional rights, the Court, ruled that:

1) The motion is not about homosexuality per se, but ‘…it is about
fundamental rights and freedoms,’ in particular about whether ‘the
publication infringed the rights of the applicants or threatened to do

2) The jurisdiction of Article 50 (1) of the Constitution is dual in nature, in that it extends not just to any person ‘whose fundamental rights or other rights or freedoms have been infringed in the first place,’ but also to ‘persons whose fundamental rights or other rights or freedoms are threatened to be infringed.’

3) Inciting people to hang homosexuals is an attack on the right to dignity of those thus threatened: ‘the call to hang gays in dozens tends to tremendously threaten their right to human dignity.’

Jim Burroway reports that
Giles Muhume, Rolling Stone editor, remains defiant:

Giles Muhume, Rolling Stone editor, remained defiant in the face of the court ruling. In a press release, he said that “homos had a short-lived smile today” but that Rolling Stone would appeal the decision. Calling the ruling a risk to media freedom, Muhume added, “The newspaper will fight homos on different fronts. Our supporters should remain strong –- the agents of the devil shall be defeated.”

Sokari congratulates
all those who had the courage to fight the case in court:

This is fantastic news and a tremendous win for LGBTI people in Uganda. Congratulations to all those who had the courage to fight this case.

You can view the full text of the ruling here.


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