AP Misquotes Ugandan LGBT Advocate Saying Dropping Death Penalty Is Good Enough

Jim Burroway

January 7th, 2010

The Associated Press story we pointed to this morning indicating that Uganda’s president is urging lawmakers to drop the death penalty provision from its otherwise still-draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill contains a horrible misquote by a Ugandan LGBT activist, one which completely obscures the fact that this proposed modification is almost negligible. The AP story suggests that all the Ugandan Parliament needs to do is drop the death penalty provision, and Uganda’s LGBT advocates will then fall in line and support the government.

This is a gross misrepresentation Let me explain. The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, as currently written, would:

  • Expand the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier. Current law requires evidence of penetration. The new law would expand the definition of homosexual activity to”touch(ing) another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.” Touching itself is defined as “touching—(a) with any part of the body; (b) with anything else; (c) through anything; and in particular includes touching amounting to penetration of any sexual organ. anus or mouth.”
  • Affirm Uganda\’s lifetime imprisonment for those convicted of homosexuality.
  • Define a new crime of “aggravated homosexuality” for those who engage in sex with someone under the age of 18, who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender” (so broadly defined as to include anyone who has had a relationship with more than one person, or who had sex with the same person more than once), or who had sex with a disabled person (consensual or not). The penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” is death by hanging.
  • Require anyone arrested on suspicion of homosexuality to undergo HIV testing to determine the individual\’s qualification for prosecution of “aggravated homosexuality.”
  • Criminalize “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
  • Criminalize “promoting” homosexuality with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years. This overly-broad provision would criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda . It could also be used against anyone extending counseling or otherwise aiding gay people. It would also criminalize any attempt to repeal or modify the law in the future, as those moves could also be seen as “promoting” homosexuality.
  • Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
  • 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.
  • Penalize landlords and hotel owners with five to seven years imprisonment for renting to LGBT people.
  • 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.

As you can see, dropping the death penalty provision, while an important feature, is barely a concession given the scope of the bill. It’s debatable whether there’s much of a difference between the death penalty and spending a lifetime in Ugandan prisons. It still criminalizes knowing someone who is gay, it still criminalizes renting a room or flat to someone who is gay, it still criminalizes gay Ugandans living abroad, and it still criminalizes all acts of free speech or giving any sort of aide to gay people.

But the AP article implies that it is only the death penalty provision that Ugandan LGBT advocates object to:

Frank Mugisha, leader of Sex Minorities Uganda, said the gay-rights group will campaign for and support President Yoweri Museveni in the 2011 polls because of his opposition to the bill’s harsher provisions.

“If one scratches your back you also scratch his back,” Mugisha said. “Museveni’s action shows that he is a true democrat. As a head of state he is doing the right thing of protecting all interests of its citizens including those of the minorities.”

Frank Mugisha tells Warren Throckmorton that this is not at all what he said:

I called Frank Mugisha to ask if he was quoted correctly and he said no, he was not quoted correctly. He said he did not say, ‘if one scratches your back, you also scratch his back.\’ He also noted that Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUg) does not support specific political parties, saying

We are not political. As an organization, we don\’t support any party. Like all Ugandans, some of our members support one party, and others support another party.

Regarding President Museveni, Mugisha said he did not know what stance he had taken. His comment to the reporter was meant to be a hypothetical statement, saying

I said, ‘if the President protects gays, then he is being democratic.\’ We do not know yet what he is going to do.

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

BobN

January 7th, 2010

The AP seems to have an inability to correctly report gay-related news.

Lynn David

January 7th, 2010

You could do a much better job on this story than the AP, UPS, Reuters, etc., Jim.

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

 

Latest Posts

Jubal

Another Temporary Hiatus

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1971: Minnesota Couple Stake Claim To First American Same-Sex Marriage

Today's Agenda Is Brought To You By...

Today In History, 1954: "Perverts Vanish" From Miami

Born On This Day, 1907: Evelyn Hooker

Born On This Day, 1925: Fr. John J. McNeill

Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.