Bloomberg: Uganda To Drop Death Penalty, Add Forced “Conversions”

Jim Burroway

December 9th, 2009

Bloomberg is reporting that Uganda’s political leadership has decided to drop the death penalty and lifetime imprisonment from their proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act:

Uganda will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays in a refined version of an anti- gay bill expected to be ready for presentation to Parliament in two weeks, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, said.

The draft bill, which is under consideration by a parliamentary committee, will drop the two punishments to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties, Buturo said today in a phone interview from the capital, Kampala.

But it looks like another idea taken directly from the three-day conference last March is finding its way into the bill — forced conversions:

In addition to formulating punishments for the gay people, the bill will also promote counseling to help “attract errant people to acceptable sexual orientation,” said Buturo.

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

This sounds remarkably like the recommendation that came out of the conference put on last March by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and the International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge. According to that recommendation, LGBT people would receive either a lighter or suspended sentence if they went into disproved, unscientific counseling to try to “cure” them of their “affliction.” Of course, a choice between a Ugandan prison and “counseling” is a false choice as anyone with half decent intelligence can quickly deduce. Unsaid is what happens when that counseling inevitably fails.

Scott Lively is already on record as supporting this idea. Does Richard Cohen? More importantly, does Exodus International? Or will they do the right thing and denounce these modifications as unacceptable? I’ll let you lay odds in the comments.

Meawhile, it appears that other draconian aspects of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act will remain intact. Other provisions in the bill would:

  • Expand the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier.
  • Criminalize “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
  • Criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
  • Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment. This penalty may be reduced in the new version, but the act still appears to be criminalized to some extent.
  • Add a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual\’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
  • Add an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
  • Void all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.

Click here to see BTB\’s complete coverage of recent anti-gay developments in Uganda.

Priya Lynn

December 9th, 2009

I wonder if they didn’t initially include the death penalty in this bill as a ploy, knowing they would bargain it away so that once it was gone the rest of the bill wouldn’t seem so extreme.

Kate Zeiss

December 9th, 2009

Now let’s see … who would be best positioned to bid on the government contracts for Uganda’s “re-orientation” program?


December 9th, 2009

They must have watched Rachel last night.


December 9th, 2009

I wonder if they didn’t initially include the death penalty in this bill as a ploy, knowing they would bargain it away so that once it was gone the rest of the bill wouldn’t seem so extreme.


Lynn David

December 10th, 2009

So if they got rid of the death penalty, what’s the point of the bill? Life imprisonment for defiling a young male already exists in Uganda, despite Ssempa’s and Langa’s lies to the contrary. Oh yeah, all that other stuff that is actually in contravention of the Ugandan constitution.

It shows one thing up. Communism was known for its constitution that meant absolutely nothing. It appears a theocratic state like Uganda is no better in that respect. I read also today of Christian (Anglican?) bishops who tried to destroy shrines of indigenous religions in Uganda. Freedom of religion only if you are Christian, I guess.


December 10th, 2009

I am *very* interested in how American conservative Christians/ex-gay promotors respond to this “improvement”!

Priya Lynn

December 10th, 2009

Lynn, the major difference between this law and the old one is that in addition to life imprisonment, it provides jail sentences for anyone advocating on behalf of LGBT causes and jail sentences for anyone who does not report a known gay person. 7 and 3 years respectively if I remember correctly.


December 12th, 2009

The old law was very vague, “against the order of nature”. This new law would punish a wide range of people, not just suspected homosexuals but also those even remotely associated with homosexuals… All that, in addition to broadening the definition of “homosexual acts” …stopping short of checking out a person of the same sex.

Forced therapy appears to be gaining massive momentum here. Silly slogans like “love and counsel homosexuals but hate and fight homosexuality” and “tolerate the sinner, not the sin” are being thrown around. Bahati on BBC said something along the lines of “we love sinners but we hate sin”. Ssempa has often claimed that he has expertise, or at least experience, in counselling homosexuals. *cringe* Many Ugandans believe, or at least claim to believe, in miracles and faith based healing… Benny Hinn kinda stuff. In a recent issue of the New Vision’s Sunday Magazine, there was a centerfold poster of gospel singer Donnie McKlurkin (sp?) and a short text on how he became straight. I really dont wanna have electrodes probed into my brain… Wont the real ex-ex-gay therapists please stand up?? Info is readily available, like BTB videos on youtube… but these guys really need some credible(from their perspective) people, like ex-ex-gay therapists, to break it down for them.

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