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Museveni Signs Anti-Homosexuality Bill Into Law

Jim Burroway

February 24th, 2014

As announced late last night, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill into law in a ceremony at State House in Entebbe earlier this morning. He signed the bill into law at about 1:50 p.m. East Africa Time (5:50 a.m. E.S.T). It is highly unusual for Museveni to sign a bill publicly, but

The president was in combative mood in a speech after the signing and while answering questions from journalists. He suggested that the law was made necessary by arrogant western groups promoting a behaviour that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

…The president suggested he could not to understand how men could fail to be attracted to Uganda’s beautiful women and, instead, get attracted to fellow men.

The president also paraded the mostly Ugandan scientists who concluded that homosexuality wasn’t generic. The signing is expected to attract more attention and reaction from human rights defenders and the Western world, who have consistently been against the president’s assent since the bill was passed by Parliament in December 2013.

The bill will formally becomes law when it is published in the Uganda Gazette. That will also be the first time we will be able to get an official look at the bill’s final form. You can see the bill’s original form here. The bill originally included the death penalty for anyone convicted of “aggravated homosexuality,” which includes sex with minors, sex while HIV-positive (regardless of informed consent), incest, sex while being “a person of authority over the person”, sex with a disabled person (regardless of consent, or being a “serial offender”, of any other part of the bill. When Parliament passed the bill in December, the death penalty was dropped in favor of lifetime imprisonment.

Other provisions remaining in the bill include lifetime imprisonment for entering into a same-sex marriage, seven years for conducting one, five to seven years for advocacy by or on behalf of LGBT people, five years for providing housing to LGBT people, and seven years for providing services to LGBT people.

Last weekend, President Barack Obama said that signing the bill “will be a step backward for all Ugandans and reflect poorly on Uganda’s commitment to protecting the human rights of its people.” He also warned that “enacting this legislation will complicate our valued relationship with Uganda.” During today’s signing ceremony, Museveni dismissed that warning:

On the issue of losing aid by signing the bill, President Museveni, quoting the story of Esau in the bible said that Uganda will not give up their rights because of food like Esau did. He then took the chance to remind the gathering that Uganda does not need aid. “Uganda is very rich, we do not need the aid,” He said.

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