Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law Can Imprison You Forever Just For Opposing It

Rob Tisinai

February 24th, 2014

Media reports are understating the horror of Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law. For instance, from the Associated Press:

It sets life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” defined as repeated gay sex between consenting adults and acts involving a minor, a disabled person or where one partner is infected with HIV.

In fact, it’s much worse than that. In fact, Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law can put you away for life just for opposing Uganda’s Anti-Gay Law.

The logic is pretty simple:

  • The law says: “A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.”
  • One way of committing aggravated homosexuality is to be a “serial offender” against the law.
  • A serial offender is “a person who has previous convictions of the offence of homosexuality or related offences.”
  • Related offences include a variety of things, like counseling someone to have gay sex; getting same-sex married; or “promotion of homosexuality,” a grab bag covering any activity that:
    • “funds or sponsors homosexuality or other related activities” or
    • “offers premises and other related fixed or movable assets for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality” or
    • “uses electronic devices which include internet, films, mobile phones for purposes of homosexuality or promoting homosexuality” or
    • “acts as an accomplice or attempts to promote or in anyway abets homosexuality and related practices.”

The penalties vary for a single related-offence violation, but if you’re convicted of a combination of these offences, or convicted of one offence multiple times, then you’re a serial offender, guilty of aggravated homosexuality, and subject to life imprisonment. So if you speak out against this law, and you keep speaking out against it, then you’re someone who “attempts to promote or in anyway abets homosexuality and related practices.” On your second or third conviction they can put you away for life.

This law is worse than the news accounts are making it out to be. It doesn’t just imprison gay people. It imposes a lifetime sentence on our allies, too. It doesn’t just make us into criminals and pariahs. It condemns anyone who might question this horrid law. It doesn’t just put Uganda in the dark ages. It’s built to keep the country there forever.

Bose in St. Peter MN

February 24th, 2014

The broad definition of “sexual touch” stands out, as well. While it starts with physical penetration of any sort, it winds its way down to any touch, regardless of any barriers (layers of clothing), with the intention of more explicitly oral/genital/anal sexual activity.

So, holding hands, or a fully clothed hug, in the privacy of one’s own home could put a couple on the path to conviction.

Unless, of course, one of the pair is deemed to be the “victim” and the other the “predator.”


February 24th, 2014

Yes, Rob, the media have been irresponsibly minimizing the law by focusing mainly on longer sentences for gays for what was already a crime instead of focusing on how the law applies to non-gays as well and criminalizes a wide variety of harmless activities, all in the name of isolating LGBTs in every way so they can be oppressed and perhaps eliminated with impunity.


February 24th, 2014

So, wouldn’t imprisonment of GLBT violate the bill’s own law against “providing shelter to GLBT”???

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