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118 British MP’s Sign Motion Condemning Uganda’s “Kill the gays” Bill

Jim Burroway

April 6th, 2010

One hundred and eighteen Members of Britain’s Parliament signed on to what is known as an “Early Day Motion” condemning Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would impose lifetime sentences for LGBT people as well as the death penalty under certain circumstances. Early Day Motions, or EDMs, are formal motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons. EDM’s are not voted on by the House, and few are actually debated on the floor of the house. Instead, they are used to express the views of individual MP’s or to draw attention to specific concerns, events, or causes.

EDM 575 reads:

Cohen, Harry

That this House calls on the British Government and the European Union to press the government of Uganda not to proceed with the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which violates the equality and non-discrimination provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter of Human and People’s Rights; abhors that this Bill, currently before the Uganda parliament, proposes the death penalty for repeat homosexual acts, extends the existing penalty of life imprisonment for anal intercourse to all other same-sex behaviour, including the mere touching of another person with the intent to have homosexual relations and imposes life imprisonment for contracting a same-sex marriage; notes that under the provisions of the Bill membership of providing funding for gay organisations advocating gay human rights and providing condoms or safer sex advice to gay people will result in a sentence of between five and seven years for promoting homosexuality and that a person in authority who fails to report offenders to the police within 24 hours will incur a three year prison sentence; further notes that this monstrous proposed law contains extra-territorial jurisdiction so that it will apply to Ugandans who breach its provisions whilst living abroad, even in countries where such behaviour is not a criminal offence, and that such Ugandans living overseas could be subject to extradition, trial and punishment in Uganda; and demands that the Ugandan government uphold international humanitarian law by abandoning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalising same-sex acts between consenting adults in private, and outlawing discrimination against gay people.

The motion, which was jointly written by MP Harry Cohen and Outrage!’s LGBT advocate Peter Tatchell, garnered 118 signatures. Sixteen Conservative MP’s joined 63 Labour, 33 Liberal Democrat, and 6 other MP’s from various parties (including one independent) to condemn the bill. The House consists of 646 members. EDM’s remain open for signatures for the duration of Parliament. The current Parliament will be dissolved on April 12 with elections called for May 6.



April 7th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t really know which is more disappointing – that my usually-good-on-LGBT-rights local MP didn’t sign, or that that I had to find out about the EDM from an American website.

April 7th, 2010 | LINK

Wait a minute, Tories signed the petition. I thought Cameron said that Conservatives didn’t meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations. That’s what he said about his Tory MEP’s not joining in the EU vote condemning Lithuania’s anti-gay law. Of course he was full of shit anyway since his Tory MEP’s have voted to condemn a number of countries for various laws and policies with which they disagree.

Fred in the UK
April 7th, 2010 | LINK

@tavdy79 To be honest I am not hugely disappointed that this has been (as far as I am aware) ignored by the UK media. So far this Parliamentary session (i.e. since the end of the summer recess in September 2009) there have been over 1200 EDMs, many MPs and journalists have simply started routinely ignoring them. Also this particular EDM only calls on HM Government and the EU to ‘press’ the Ugandan government not to proceed, if it had suggested some form of sanction should the legislation go ahead it may have been more newsworthy.

Mihangel apYrs
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

It’s sickening that 118 Ms including many Labour and Liberals (the “left” wing) were oppoese. Maybe because it was dealing with Uganda a black African country they were more concerned about racism accusations,and interfering in a “different culture”

Pusillanimous TWATS

(that’s a naughty word!)

Fred in the UK
April 8th, 2010 | LINK

@Mihangel apYrs I think you misunderstand, 118 MPs were in favour of the motion, 528 MPs did not sign the motion. I suspect many of those who did not sign did so because they oppose the great number of symbolic or otherwise practically meaningless EDMs, not because they oppose this motion per se. I don’t think you will find many MPs saying that HM Government should not press the Ugandan Government to oppose the ‘Kill Gays’ bill.

Paul in Canada
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

This just in…. ONE of Prince Harry’s men has made military history by becoming the first soldier from the Household Cavalry to marry his boyfriend.

Read more:

Fred in the UK
April 9th, 2010 | LINK

If anyone is interested to know more, a long story is here.

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