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Reports Build About “Stalled” Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Jim Burroway

August 6th, 2010

There are several reports going around the web that the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill that is now before Uganda’s Parliament is stalled. For regular readers of BTB, this may be old news, but it’s certainly worth revisiting.The current Parliament ends officially in May 2011 when new elections are held and a new Parliament is installed. When that happens, the bill will be officially dead if it hasn’t been acted upon before then. Parliament is expected to wrap up its final session before breaking for elections in the next few months, and as we noted in June, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill did not make it onto Parliament’s final agenda.

In December, MP David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor, revealed in an interview on state-owned UBC Television that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill had been referred to the Parliamentary Committee of Legal Affairs and also the Presidential Affairs Committee. In January, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni, responding to international pressure, urged Parliament to “go slow” on the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. By April, it appeared that members of Parliament had little appetite for passing the bill, and I speculated that the two Parliamentary Committees are where the bill was sent to die. While it’s always important to be cautious about such speculation — near-death isn’t death and bills sometimes have a way of being revived — that speculation was further reinforced by a special Presidential Committee, which reportedly “rejected” the bill in May — or more accurately, recommended radical changes to it, changes which have still not been acted on by Parliament.

One thing is for certain however is that if the bill were to be revived — and there are no assurances at this point that it cannot be brought back before Parliament — it would certainly result in an new round of persecutions for Uganda’s LGBT community. Apostle Julius Peter Oyet, who is President of the Ugandan branch of the College of Prayer (which itself is a ministry of Rev. Fred Hartley’s Lilburn Alliance Church in Atlanta), was brought in by MP Bahatito lobby Parliament for the bill’s passage. Oyet repordtedly told a documentary filmmaker:

I was there. I have been part of the brains behind it. We worked on it. We planned who should propose it. It is the Ugandan’s bill. It is the culture of Uganda to keep purity. It is everybody’s voice. I worked with Bahati on this.

In this British Channel Four documentary, Oyet is seen preaching against homosexuality. Later in the clip, he is brought face-to-face with a former employee who is gay. Notice how Oyet cannot even look at him. And notice how, with the young man in his presence, Oyet promises that “the imprisonment begins immediately when Parliament passes the bill” (at the 5:15 mark):

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Lynn David
August 6th, 2010 | LINK

Ugandan Ssempa-wannabees that I have seen on blogs keep saying that the bill will be passed. And they say often with Ssempa’s Christian group’s wacky changes in the bill. The ones where if two guys have consensual sex and only one of them is HIV positive, then the guy who isn’t positive ends up in prison for life (as is in the original bill) and the one who is HIV positive gets 10 years in Ssempa’s faith-based rehab program (cut down by Ssempa from the death penalty in the original bill). Foolishness, as is the conflation of being gay with pedophilia. Ssempa thinks he can rehab a pedophile?

But then the point just like as here with LaBarbera’s failed ‘Academy’ is I think there is a growing part of the Ugandan population that would rather not seek any retribution against gays in their country. I think they see it as their government scapegoating people in order not to deal with the actual needs in the country and government fraud. We can hope.

August 6th, 2010 | LINK

didn’t one of those committees recommend waiting until there’s less attention and controversy surrounding the bill before chopping it up and passing it in chunks, disguised as minor ammendments or provisions in other laws such as the sexual offences act? that’s probably what museveni meant when he said to “go slow”… he showed concern that the bill had become a “foreign policy issue”, not that the bill is unconstitutional or that it violates human rights. he later expressed support for the bill using clumsily coded terms during a speech. the bill’s supporters may not have lost enthusiasm… perhaps they’re just following museveni’s advice to “go slow” so as to diffuse attention and controversy, and then quietly pass it in small bits over time. it’s more difficult to snub international pressure before the bill is passed than to pass it in bits and then snub international outcry as an attack on the country’s sovereignty.

Tom in Lazybrook
August 8th, 2010 | LINK

Ssempa is at it again, this time with a letter in the Observer. In this article, Ssempa endorses criminalizing all Gay Ugandans and seeks to use said criminalization to prevent any balanced media views of Gay Ugandans. I wonder how his funders over at Canyon Ridge feel about this. Note the date of publication.

August 8th, 2010 | LINK

Rick Warren has had some major fundraising challenges lately. I guess that’s why he doesn’t have enough money left over to pay his flunkies to continue pushing this.

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