Status of Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill Appears In Doubt — For Now

Jim Burroway

April 21st, 2010

Tomorrow’s edition of Uganda’s largest independent newspaper, Daily Monitor, citing unnamed sources, reports that a Cabinet committee has recommended changes to the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill “that preclude the possibility of discarding it.” But later, the same article says:

The recommendations mean that the legislation may never be passed in its current shape, if at all, and that it may be long before it is discussed with seriousness.

Which makes it difficult to discern exactly where the bill stands.

Daily Monitor does not indicate what changes were recommended to “soften” the proposed legislation.

When Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni cited international opposition and cautioned ruling party leaders in January to “go slow” on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, he announced a Cabinet committee to meet with the bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati, to iron out some of the issues with the bill. Four months later, this may well be the same Cabinet committee preparing to making their recommendations to the full Cabinet.

The unnamed Cabinet source castigates the bill’s sponsor, MP David Bahati, for “not applying the kind of sophistication that would have anticipated the international condemnation” of the bill:

“It is far from being a law,” a source on the committee said, requesting anonymity so as to preserve his credibility. “It is a [good] principle, but the approach of the mover has stigmatised his mission.”

It is not known when, if ever, the bill will be taken up by the full Cabinet.

Meanwhile, the bill has been referred to two Parliament committees: the Presidential Affairs committee and the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. Despite earlier promises that the bill would be among Parliament’s top priorities when it returned from its recess last February, the bill has apparently languished in both committees with little if any action. Two weeks ago, one Legal Affairs committee member declared the bill “useless” and the chairman confirmed that the bill was not a priority.

Yesterday, the Guardian observed that Ugandan officials “appear to be using stalling tactics, suggesting it will not come to a vote until 2011,” but warned that this could change depending on the political climate in next year’s presidential elections.

One factor that could lead to the bill’s revival could be whether presidential candidate Olara Otunnu of the Uganda Peoples Congress poses a serious challenge to Museveni’s bid to extend his 25-year reign for another five year term. Otunnu, whose party is on record as opposing the draconian bill, is unmarried and the subject to a widespread anti-gay whisper campaign. Otunnu himself has declared the bill “a violation of basic human rights.” Otunno’s candidacy has already drawn a steady stream of official harassment on the part of police and governmental officials against his campaign.

Another factor, of course, could be overwhelming popular sentiment. As we reported earlier, the first week of May will mark several high-profile Pentecostal rallies and marches, including one rally to be staged by American anti-gay extremist Lou Engle. That May 2 rally in Kampala, The Call Uganda, will identify “homosexuality and increased immorality” as a “social evil” to be addressed at the rally.

Ugandan LGBT people fear that these rallies may unleash another anti-gay pogrom and wave of public vigilantism similar to the one that followed a much smaller anti-gay conference put on by three American activists last year. That conference went ahead despite warnings from international human rights groups, local LGBT advocates, one lone American Evangelical, and even this humble blogger. The potential fallout from The Call Uganda is anybody’s guess but one man’s direct responsibility: Lou Engle.

Chris McCoy

April 22nd, 2010

I worry that the stalling tactics are being used to wait untill the international community “moves on” to the next big story and forgets about Uganda – and then they can push the bill thru into law unnoticed.

I hope that the same organizations (and this blog) that have denounced this bill keep the pressure on Uganda to not just shelve the bill, but to officially drop it from consideration.

Jim Burroway

April 22nd, 2010

That’s a well-founded worry, which is why this blog will not “move on,” and why we’re trying to raise the alarm about Lou Engle’s May 2 rally in Kampala.

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.