Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial anti-gay bill into law on January 24, 2014 that punishes homosexual acts with life in prison in some cases.
The parliament of Uganda overwhelmingly passed the bill on December 20, 2013. It also provides for prison sentences for anyone who does not report gay people to authorities and punishes the use of Facebook and Twitter accounts to fight for gay rights a crime with a maximum of seven years in jail.
US President Barack Obama and other leaders around the world have warned President Museveni that the law is an abuse of human rights.
Ugandan LGBT activists say that the law makes Uganda one of the worst places to be gay in the world. Many people have taken to social media to discuss it, some in support while others adamantly against.
Sexual Minorities Uganda leader and gay activist Frank Mugisha tweeted:
My twitter & facebook are Illegal,the fine of five thousand currency points or imprisonment of a min. of 5 years & a maxi of 7 years or both
— Dr. Frank Mugisha (@frankmugisha) February 24, 2014
Wadda Mutebi bashed those speaking out against the law:
Gay promoters, go hell. You can talk about your bogus human rights while chilling with satan there. #antigaybill
— Wadd'a Mutebi (@WaddaMutebi) February 24, 2014
Jenny Hedstrom simply wrote:
— Jenny Hedström (@HedstromJenny) February 24, 2014
John Paul Torach noted that the government and opposition are both on the same page on this issue:
Even louder than Sevos signing of the #antigaybill is the silence of opposition politicians…when they both agree..u know u have lost.
— John Paul Torach (@jptorach) February 24, 2014
Eriche White Walker thought that religious leaders have failed to instill morals into the people:
When the state starts regulating matters of morality using the law the religious institutions have failed #antigaybill
— Eriche White Walker (@jkeriche) February 24, 2014
“I am an African” argued that one's ideas of sexuality should not apply to other people's lives:
— I am an African! (@Clint_ZA) February 24, 2014
Stuart Grobbelaar jokingly said Uganda should pass laws that ban divorce and prescribe marriage strictly for virgins:
— Stuart Grobbelaar (@StueyMax) February 24, 2014
Ugandans now wonder what will happen to the relationship between their country and others, mostly Western, that believe the law violates basic human rights.
[Correction: A previous headline, “Being Gay Is Officially a Crime in Uganda”, implied that the law marks the first time that homosexuality is illegal in Uganda. In fact, homosexuality was already illegal before this most recent law.]