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.
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.