Clause By Clause With Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill
February 16th, 2012
Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill has been re-introduced into Parliament and is currently in the hands of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. As the Committee considers what to do with the bill, there has been considerable confusion over what would happen if the bill were to become law. Most of the attention has focused on the bill’s death penalty provision, but even if it were removed, the bill’s other seventeen clauses would still represent a barbaric regression for Uganda’s human rights record. In this series, we will examine the original text of bill’s eighteen clauses to uncover exactly what it includes in its present form.
After having examined the many ways in which just about anyone can be charged with homosexuality, the many ways in which just about anyone can earn the death sentence, the ridiculous clause against “attempted homosexuality” (when the burden of proof for the “crime” of homosexuality is set so low that it’s almost impossible how anyone could stop short at “attempting it”), and the dangers that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill pose to doctors, lawyers, beauticians, and just about everyone else who comes in contact with gay people — you’d think after all that, we’d be just about finished with examining the Anti-Homoseuxality Bill.
Unfortunately, we are only now reaching the half-way point. So let’s continue and dispense with these three clauses quickly:
8. Conspiracy to engage in homosexuality.
A person who conspires with another to induce another person of the same sex by any means of false pretence or other fraudulent means to permit any person of the same sex to have unlawful carnal knowledge of him or her commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.
9. Procuring homosexuality by threats, etc.
(1) A person who–
(a) by threats or intimidation procures or attempts to procure any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal knowledge with any person of the same sex, either in Uganda or elsewhere;
(b) by false pretences or false representations procures any woman or man to have any unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex, either in Uganda or elsewhere; or
(2) A person shall not be convicted of an offence under this section upon the evidence of one witness only, unless that witness is corroborated in some material particular by evidence implicating the accused.
10. Detention with intent to commit homosexuality.
A person who detains another person with the intention to commit acts of homosexuality with him or herself or with any other person commits an offence and is liable on conviction for seven years.
As is the case with the other clauses we’ve examined, these clauses are predicated on the assumption that there is no such thing as a consensual relationship as far as gay people are concerned. Someone is either a perpetrator or a victim, and if one is a victim, one is either “tricked” into homosexuality (how on earth does that happen?), is threatened into it, or is detained and forced into it. Clause 8, of course, is ridiculous, so much so that the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee recommended its deletion. But not because it’s nonsense, but because they somehow managed to find it redundant with Clause 13 (prohibiting the “promotion” of homosexuality) without explaining how it is redundant.
Clauses 9 and 10 however are somewhat more serious. After all, I think we can agree that threatening someone to have gay sex should be a crime, and that detaining someone in order to have gay sex with them should also be a crime. On those points, I think we all can find common ground.
But while we’re on the topic, shouldn’t threatening someone to have any kind of sex also be a crime? Shouldn’t detaining someone in order to have any kind of sex also be a crime? Of course they should be, and of course they already are.
The addition of these clauses here in the Anti-Homosexuality Bill serve no legal purpose. They merely make illegal that which is already illegal. But they do serve a propaganda purpose by reinforcing the idea that gay people are inherently criminal in all aspects of their relationships. And they also provide a convenient menu from which quick-thinking so-called “victims of homosexuality” can choose when they decide to take advantage of Clauses 5 and 6 to get out of jail free while throwing their partner under the bus.
As for the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee recommendations, they chose to keep Clause 10, but recognized that Clause 9 could have benefited from some proofreading. They recommended striking the unfinished phrase “either in Uganda or elsewhere; or” and adding at the end of the provision the words “…commits an offence and is liable on conviction be liable to imprisonment of seven years.” Oops. It looks like their recommendation needed some more proofreading.
As we said before, the Eight Parliament disbanded before adopting the recommendations. The bill that is back in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee for the Ninth Parliament is the original bill, which still contains these clauses as originally submitted.
Clause By Clause With Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill:
Clauses 1 and 2: Anybody Can Be Gay
Clause 3: Anyone Can Be “Liable To Suffer Death”
Clause 4: Anyone Can “Attempt to Commit Homosexuality”
Clauses 5 and 6: Anyone Can Be A Victim (And Get Out Of Jail Free If You Act Fast)
Clauses 7 and 14: Anyone Can “Aid And Abet”
Clauses 8 to 10: A Handy Menu For “Victims” To Choose From
Clauses 11, 14, 16 and 17: Nowhere To Run, Nowhere To Hide
Clause 12: Till Life Imprisonment Do You Part
Clause 13: The Silencing of the Lambs
Clause 14: The Requirement Isn’t Only To Report Gay People To Police. It’s To Report Everyone.
Clauses 15 and 19: The Establishment Clauses For The Ugandan Inquisition
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