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Posts for June, 2010

Did FRC Lie To Congress About the Ugandan “Kill-The-Gays” Bill?

Jim Burroway

June 5th, 2010

The Family Research Council yesterday responded to criticisms that they lobbied Congress against a House resolution denouncing Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As part of their response, they claimed that they wanted to make the resolution “more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill.” I have several concerns over the FRC’s ability to discern “factually accurate” information.

And knowing that supporters of Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill have spread false information themselves about what the bill actually includes, it’s still very much an open question what parts of the House resolution the FRC considered inaccurate. But this FRC radio broadcast from Tony Perkins soon after the National Prayer Breakfast of Feb 4, 2010 gives us a clue to what the FRC may have been telling Congress:

Does civility require the acceptance of all behavior? Hello, I am Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council. At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality. The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans. The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us. [Emphasis mine]

This is lifted almost verbatin from Martin Ssempa’s false defense of the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill. As we’ve gone over before again and again, Perkins’ clam that the law calls for the death penalty for intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS or that it only addresses those who prey on vulnerable individuals is flat-out wrong. And as is typical with the bill’s supporters, the FRC refuses to link to the actual text of the bill itself — something that we do with each and every post mentioning the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. And they don’t for good reason: They don’t want you to know what the bill really says.

So once again, as we have done so many times in the past, let’s look at the bill again. Here’s the clause defining “Aggravated Homosexuality”:

3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the

(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;

(b) offender is a person living with HIV;

(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;

(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;

(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;

(f) offender is a serial offender, or

(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by  enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,

(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.

(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.

Clause 3. (1) (b) was often cited to support the claim that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would impose the death penalty for the “deliberate” spread of HIV, but it is important to note that the bill contains no requirement that the intent be deliberate at all. In fact, the third subclause would suggest that the death penalty would apply upon receiving a positive serostatus result from an HIV test, which might very well be the first time the charged individual would know he or she was HIV-positive. Alternately, if the accused already knew he was HIV-positive, the proposed bill provides no acknowledgment that the accused’s partner may have known about it and entered into a consensual relationship.

Yes, clause 3. (1) (a) includes a prohibition against sex with a minor, and (e) prohibits sex with a “person with disability,” but again, this clause assumes that a disabled person — perhaps someone who is deaf, blind or in a wheelchair, for example — is unable to provide consent. Nowhere in the bill does it suggest that proof that the individual did not consent is needed.

And them of course, there’s the problem with (f), where the “offender is a serial offender.” That could mean anyone who has ever had more than one partner, or anyone who has had sex with his or her partner more than once. And as Rob Tisinai demonstrated, the bill is so badly written that the death penalty for the “serial offender” is so poorly written, just about anyone can be convicted of “aggravated homosexuality.”

But as we have demonstrated so many times in the past, the Family “Research” Council’s inability to comprehend plain English has likely meant that they have provided factually incorrect information to the House and Senate.

I know the boys at FRC are very smart people with good reading comprehension skills. Which is why I know that if this is the message they brought to the Hill, they did so deliberately to obscure the true nature of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. And if anyone wants to obscure the true nature of the draconian bill to claim that all it does is “uphold(s) moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable,” then that can only mean one thing. The Family “Research” Council wants to kill you.

That’s the base assumption, and it’s a reasonable one. After all, we know they want to criminalize you. If they believe otherwise, then they need to come clean on exactly what they felt was so “factually inaccurate” about the House resolution.

[Hat tip to BTB reader L. Junius Brutus]