January 10th, 2013
I should note first that The Observer is an opposition publication in Uganda, so it’s hard to know how influential this debate might be, which David Tash Lumu describes as taking place “on the steps of Parliament” between several members of Parliament and a Deputy Secretary to the Treasury:
So at a time when the University of Buckingham in the UK has reportedly severed ties with Victoria University over the bill, which the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, promised to pass last year as a “Christmas gift”, a rare debate happened at the steps of the august House. The MPs who were part of this debate included James Kakooza (Kabula), Fox Odoi (West Budama North) and Geoffrey Ekanya (Tororo).
This reporter was also part of the debate that sucked in (Deputy Secretary to the Treasury) Keith Muhakanizi. While Kakooza suggested the bill would protect the morals of the country, Fox Odoi, a member of Parliament’s committee on Legal Affairs that scrutinised it, argued that it is illogical to legislate on morality. Odoi, who has written a minority report bashing the bill, added that if lawmakers ignore his report and pass the bill, they will have set a wrong precedent—that government can enter or legislate what happens in your bedroom.
Ekanya, the shadow Finance minister, however expressed worry about the economy, arguing that the aid cuts have happened not because of corruption but largely because of this bill. Ekanya added that the bill is the best ammunition President Museveni has right now—because he uses it to scare donors.
“He must be saying that if you don’t give us the money, I am going to tell MPs to pass this bill,” Ekanya said.
But Muhakanizi dismissed this and accused MPs of not being sensitive about the economy. He said by bringing up such a bill, the MPs are hurting the economy because they have failed to look at the far-reaching financial consequences of passing it.
“I have never seen a country like this where politicians hurt the economy instead of building it,” he said.
Again, it’s hard to understand what level of importance to place in this. Kakooza is a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), which holds a dominating super-majority of seats in Parliament. Odio is Independent member, and Ekanya is a member of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), the main opposition party in Uganda.
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced into Parliament in February, 2012, and spent the next several months languishing quietly in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. Later last summer, Parliament leaders began hinting that the bill would be voted on by the end of the year. In November, Speaker Kadaga promised to pass the Anti-Homosexuality bill as a “Christmas gift to Ugandans.” The bill looked as though it would re-emerge on the House floor as Parlaiment began debating a highly controversial Petrolium Bill, which granted the presidentially-appointed Energy Minister with sweeping power to sign and cancel lucrative oil contracts with no oversight from Parliament.
As tensions mounted over the Petroleum Bill, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill rose to the top of Parliament’s list of “Business to follow,” potentially as a unifying incentive to ease the passage of the Petroleum Bill. Parliament nevertheless broke down in chaos over the Petroleum bill, only to regroup and pass it. It was thought that by getting the Petroleum Bill out of the way, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill would be the next item for discussion, but instead it was immediately lowered in priority on the Parliament’s list of business to follow. Parliament went on Christmas break on December 14, and will resume on February 4.
Meanwhile, a massive corruption scandal exploded in the Prime Minister’s office when it was discovered that foreign aid funds from several European countries were diverted to private bank accounts of more than a dozen Ugandan officials. Britain, Ireland, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden announced aid cuts due to the scandal. Germany’s announcement also cited the Anti-Homosexuality Bill as a reason. Earlier this week, Britain’s University of Buckingham announced that it was ending its relationship with Victoria University in Kampala over the pending legislation.
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 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.