Slouching Toward Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

Jim Burroway

December 15th, 2009

Beginning in 2009, BTB has been closely monitoring events leading up to and following the introduction of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill. These pages include links to all of our posts, and including more information that we learned after some of the events took place. These pages will be updated as events continue to unfold.

Part 1: Laying the Groundwork (Feb 24 to Sept 15, 2009): Three American Evangelical activists announce anti-gay conference in KampalaSpecial invite to the conference announced in ParliamentRwandan Genocide blamed on gaysExodus applauds Schmierer’s participation at the conference“Ex-gay” becomes star of vigilante campaignVideos surface of follow-up conferenceExodus remains silent as vigilante campaign continuesUganda Parliament debates homosexuality “problem”Ugandan tabloid publicizes names, employers of LGBT citizensParliament approves resolution calling for anti-homosexuality billAccusations of homosexuality ensnare rival pastorsDraft bill calling for death penalty circulates.

Part 2: Parliament Proposes to Kill the Gays (Oct 14 to Dec 31, 2009): Full Text of Anti-Homosexuality BillUganda’s religious leaders debate AHBUS Reps Condemn AHBMore American ties to Uganda’s anti-gay politiciansExodus sends letter to Ugandan presidentJeff Sharlet exposes ties between “The Family” and M.P. David Bahati, the bill’s sponsorSweden threatens foreign aid if bill passesRick Warren refuses to condemn AHBUgandan gov’t minister remains defiant over worldwide outrageSeven Mountains Theology and the AHBExodus Board member dissembles on role in anti-gay conferenceSchmierer also denies knowing what he was getting into (we provide counter-evidence)“The Family” split on AHBRick Warren condemns AHBUgandan presidential adviser Opposes AHBAdvocate Val Kalende tells her story to Ugandan newspaperMore American evangelical connections to AHB proponentsSec of State Hillary Clinton denounces AHBEU condemns AHBMartin Ssempa responds to Rick Warren’s condemnationA lunch date with “ex-gay” speaker at Kampala anti-gay conferenceUgandan rally demands passage of AHBAHB dominates Christmas messages in Uganda.

Part 3: “Go Slow On The Bill” (Jan 3 to Mar 31, 2010): Exodus board member plays “dupe” on role in Kampala conferenceAmerican Scott Lively calls AHB “a step in the right direction.”BTB Video: Scott Lively’s “Nuclear Bomb”Rumors that AHB may be withdrawnExodus board member continues to deny responsibility“The Family” spokesman denounces AHBAmerican Evangelicals defend AHBScott Lively endorses “revised” AHBUgandan president urges “go slow,” announces Cabinet Subcommittee to reconsider AHBAHB sponsor MP David Bahati to attend “The Family’s” National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.Bahati disinvited to National Prayer BreakfastMartin Ssempa shows gay porn in churchAndrew Wommack Ministries endorses AHBAmerican anti-gay activist Cliff Kincaid defends AHBMartin Ssempa shows gay porn at news conferenceUgandan pol would kill his own gay sonPastor wars reigniteMartin Ssempa lies about AHB in comment on BTBExodus president wants to apologize, but doesn’tExodus board finally condemns AHB.

Part 4: The Bill Stalls While Debate Rages (Apr 1 to Sep 28, 2010): Televangelist Joyce Meyer condemns AHBAmerican Evangelist Lou Engle announces rally in KampalaUgandan cabinet subcommittee recommends passing AHB on the down-lowLou Engle praises AHB at Kampala rallyBTB interview with Ugandan Bishop Christopher SenyonjoScott Lively calls AHB “lesser of two evils”Bishop Senyonjo describes impact of Lively’s 2009 conferenceScott Lively struggles with death penalty provisionMartin Ssempa’s “Eat Da Poo-Poo!” — the remixFamily Research Council lobbies against Congressional resolution condemning AHBExodus president expresses regret over Uganda debacleLas Vegas megachurch stands by “international partner” Martin SsempaNevada Health officials sever ties with Las Vegas megachurchDavid Bahati declares his intention to kill every gay person in AfricaProminent anti-gay Cabinet Minister loses election.

Part 5: “Hang Them!” (Oct 1, 2010 to May 13, 2011): Rolling Stone outs LGBT Ugandans under the headline, “Hang Them!”Martin Ssempa may be behind the latest outing campaignUgandan government temporarily shuts down Rolling StoneLas Vegas megachurch considers severing ties with Martin SsempaRolling Stone resumes outing campaignUganda’s High Court orders a temporary halt to Rolling Stone’s vigilante campaignTabloids turn to conspiracy theories and gay-baitingM.P. David Bahati goes to WashingtonMartin Ssempa charged with conspiracyUgandan court permanently bans Rolling Stone vigilante campaignLGBT advocate David Kato brutally murderedScuffle breaks out at Kato’s funeralSuspect arrestedScott Lively excuses violence in UgandaPolice, Ugandan press float “gay panic” defenseWikileaks on AHBEthics and Integrity Minister Jamse Nsaba Buturo resignsSsempa, Oyet renew calls for AHBUgandan “ex-gay” recants againParliament committee holds hearings on AHBMedia erroneously reports death penalty dropped from AHBAHB vote scheduledDeath penalty confirmed in AHB; new crime addedDavid Bahati lies to NPR, says death penalty droppedParliament ends without voting on AHB.

Part 6: Not Yet Uhuru (May 13, 2011 to Feb 1, 2012): M.P. David Bahati elevated in Ugandan “Family” and ruling partyUgandan Cabinet “rejects” AHB againMPs reject Cabinet’s “rejection”New Ethics Minister defrocked by VaticanNew Health Minister has ties to American EvangelicalsWikileaks reveals First Lady’s support for AHB, and other inside political maneuveringsUK threatens foreign aid cuts to countries which persecute gay peopleParliament votes to resurrect AHBAHB opponents warn of backlash against UK threatDavid Kato’s alleged killer sentenced to 30 yearsObama Orders Government Action on International LGBT Abuses.Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares “Gay Rights Are Human Rights, and Human Rights Are Gay Rights”.

Part 7: The Bill Returns (Feb 3, 2012 to present): Anti-Homosexuality Bill reintroduced into Ninth ParliamentPolice raid LGBT-rights conference in Entebbe Lawsuit filed against Scott Lively for instigating anti-LGBT persecution in UgandaUgandan Catholic, Anglican, Orthodox bishops call for Anti-Homosexuality Bill\’s revivalUganda police raid second gay rights meetingM.P. David Bahati announces AHB will be taken up in next session of ParliamentPro-gay play stagedPlay’s producer, David Cecil arrested, faces 2 years’ imprisonmentDavid Cecil released on bailMartin Ssempa, 5 others convicted over 2009 “pastor wars”Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga promises to pass AHB by ChristmasClause-by-clause review of AHBBryan Fischer, Scott Lively cheer AHBHow a Private Member’s Bill becomes law

Part 1: Laying the Groundwork


L-R: Don Schmierer, Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge

L-R: Don Schmierer, Scott Lively, Caleb Brundidge

February 24, 2009: Exodus Board Member Joins Nazi Revisionist At Uganda Conference. When BTB first broke this story, we couldn’t believe what we saw. Exodus International board member Don Schmierer would join Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and ex-gay “counselor” Caleb Brundidge in a three-day anti-gay conference in Kampala, Uganda. Scott Lively already had a notorious reputation as author of The Pink Swastika, in which he claims that the Nazi movement was, at its core, a gay movement, and that violent fascism is the natural consequence of “the homosexual agenda.” “The Nazi Party was entirely controlled by militaristic male homosexuals throughout its short history,” he writes in his book, which is available online for free, and would be made available to conference attendees. He also adds that “There is no question that homosexuality figures prominently in the history of the Holocaust,” saying that German gays were eager to target Jews for extinction because of Judaism\’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality. He doesn\’t explain why Christianity\’s traditional prohibition against homosexuality — which held a far greater moral influence throughout Europe — was ignored.

It is this sort of rhetoric that has brought him the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Hate Watch project. There are only ten groups with anti-gay rhetoric so violent-laden and provocative as to qualify to appear on the SPLC’s list of anti-gay hate groups. Mere opposition to homosexuality isn’t close to being enough. It’s a very easy list to avoid landing on. But Scott Lively serves in a foundational or leadership capacity with nearly one-third of those groups: Abiding Truth Ministries (his own personal platform), Watchmen On the Walls (Lively was a co-founder of th group) and the School of Christian Activism (affiliated with the Springfield, MA church he attends and where he is a regular lecturer).

Seeing an official of Exodus International and Brundidge, a relative unknown who is a “counselor” for Richard Cohen’s International Healing Foundation, appearing alongside someone associated with three separate hate groups was shocking enough. To see the three of them putting on an anti-gay conference in Uganda, which already had a recent history of anti-gay vigilantism and extra-judicial torture at the hands of police, we feared the worst. The problem was, we had no idea what the worst would be.

Ugandan tabloid "Red Pepper" headlines in 2007. Click to enlarge.

March 2, 2009: Anonymous Ugandan Blogger Wants Answers From American Anti-Gay Activists. The anonymous blogger GayUganda— gay bloggers are well advised to remain anonymous in Uganda — provided an excellent history of anti-gay persecution in Uganda, including public outing campaigns carried out by Ugandan media in 2005, 2006 and 2007. “Ok, my friends from over the seas. Now, I can actually say there is proof that you do export homophobia,” he writes.

March 4, 2009: Anti-Gay Conference Announced in Uganda’s Parliament. I wish we had written a post by this title, but we would not discover this until much later. According to official minutes of Uganda’s Parliament, the anti-gay conference slated to begin the next day was announced at the end of this day’s Parliamentary session:

Before we go, I have this communication to make. All Members are invited to an executive breakfast meeting seminar on the dangers of homosexuality. The theme is, “Exposing the truth about homosexuality and the homosexual agenda”. The meeting will take place in the Parliament Conference Hall tomorrow Thursday, 5th March starting at 7.30 a.m. to 9.00 a.m. Guest speakers include Dr Scot Libley (sic) of the United States, Caleb Lee (sic) of the United States and Mr Stephen Langa of the Family Life Network. All Members are invited to attend and breakfast will be served. The House is adjourned until tomorrow at 2.30 p.m.

March 5, 2009: International LGBT Group Expresses Concern About Uganda Conference. Mindful of past human rights abuses by Ugandan authorities and media against LGBT people, The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Sexual Minorities Uganda issued a statement denouncing Lively, Schmierer’s and Brundidge’s participation in the Kampala conference.

March 5, 2009: Warren Throckmorton Speaks Out Against Uganda Conference. Pro-gay groups weren’t the only ones raising their voices against the conference. Grove City College professor and “sexual identity therapy” proponent Warren Throckmorton became the first Evangelical person of note to condemn the conference. Ugandan news outlet UGPulse reported, “Throckmorton says that he believes it is a big mistake for these US people to go to Uganda and discuss prevention of homosexuality when they are not scientists and have no training to discuss these matters in a reliable or factual manner.”

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation's Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)'s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

L-R: Unidentified woman, American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge, Exodus International boardmember Don Schmierer, Family Life Network (Uganda)’s Stephen Langa, at the time of the March 2009 anti-gay conference in Uganda.

March 5, 2009: Anti-Gay Conference Kicks Off In Kampala. We received our first report of the Anti-Gay conference in Uganda which got underway at Kampala’s posh Hotel Triangle. It began with Stephen Langa, head of Family Life Network and conference organizer,decreeing that Uganda’s anti-homosexuality law, which already called for lifetime imprisonment for anyone convicted of homosexuality, wasn’t strong enough. The balance of the day was turned over to Exodus Board Member Don Schmierer, who blamed the development of homosexuality on child sexual abuse. This characterization would find fertile ground in Uganda, where popular lore has it that homosexuality is a foreign import, brought in by wealthy gay foreigners recruiting Ugandan youth into the “vice.”

March 6, 2009: Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy. While the conference was taking place, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and conference organizer Stephen Langa met with Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo to propose a new law which would force convicted gays into conversion therapy. Don Schmierer of Exodus International, which boasts that it is “the largest Christian referral and information network dealing with homosexual issues in the world,” remains silent about the proposal.

BTB’s Jim Burroway reacted: “Exodus International now has the moral imperative to to state unequivocally its position on both the criminalization of homosexuality as well as its position on bills which would force unproven, unsanctioned, and unregulated ex-gay ‘conversion’ therapies on gays and lesbians.” He wasn’t alone. Warren Throckmorton called on Alan Chambers and Richard Cohen to have their representatives make public statements distancing themselves from this latest proposal. “And they should come early,” he added. David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch warned that Exodus had a “very short window in which to soundly renounce the entire conference, the idea of forced therapy and, as we suggested earlier, call for the decriminalization of homosexuality in Uganda and the rest of the world.”

March 6, 2009: Exodus’ Silence About Uganda: Day Five. BTB’s Timothy Kincaid revealed that he had contacted Exodus International president Alan Chambers on February 27 to warn him about Don Schmierer’s participation in the upcoming conference. Chambers’ response was off the record, but it confirmed that Chambers received Timothy’s email. Beyond that, there was no substantive response from Chambers.

March 6, 2009: Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Two. Meanwhile, the conference went on for the second day as Don Schmierer continued his talk. When asked whether homosexuality was unnatural, Schmierer deferred to “other facilitators” in an apparent reference to Scott Lively. The afternoon was given over to Caleb Brundidge, who testified to his own “conversion” to homosexuality through Richard Cohen’s controversial “touch” therapy, prayer, and casting out of demons. We would later learn that Brundidge, in addition to being affiliated with Cohen’s International Healing Foundation, is also a member of Phoenix-based Extreme Prophetic, which dispatches teams of prayer warriors to area funeral homes to try to raise the dead.

March 8, 2009: Uganda Anti-Gay Conference: Day Three — Gays Blamed For Rwandan Genocide & Pedophilia; More Exodus Ties To Holocaust Revisionism. This was the highlight of the anti-gay conference, and Scott Lively was true to form. Presented himself as a “foremost expert” on homosexuality, he began by exploiting Ugandan’s fears of child sexual molestation as a prime recruitment tactic into homosexuality. H also delved into his historical revisionism behind The Pink Swastika, and used that theory to explain that gays were probably responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Rwanda lies on Uganda’s southwest border.

Exodus website featuring link to Scott Lively\'s article

Exodus website featuring link to Scott Lively\’s article “Homosexuality and the Nazi Party” (Link highlighted, click to enlarge)

We ended by noticing that Exodus International’s web site linked to an essay by Scott Lively which was a condensed version of The Pink Swastika, with an endorsement of Lively’s views. We wondered what business Exodus had in promoting an SPLC-certified purveyor of hate.

March 9, 2009: Exodus Removes Link To Scott Lively From Its Web Site. That didn’t take long.

March 9, 2009: EU Group Condemns Ugandan Conference. European Parliament\’s Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights strongly condemned the March 5th meeting between several Ugandan parliamentarians and Scott Lively, Don Schmierer, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Stephen Langa.

March 10, 2009: Scott Lively: The Gay Agenda Is “To Turn The Whole World Gay”. We learned more about Lively’ inflammatory talk, in which he described gays as people who are utterly incapable of controlling their insatiable sexual desires, and that they won’t rest until they turn the whole world gay. Ominously, there was a warning: an unnamed facilitator was asked about gays who might be in the room to observe the conference. The facilitator responded, “If you have been planning to get us, we are planning to get you back.”

March 11, 2009: Open Letter To the Exodus International Board of Directors. The anti-gay conference clearly lived up to our worst fears, and Exodus’ inaction was not only shocking, but irresponsible. Four signatories — Wayne Besen and Mike Airhart of Truth Wins Out, David Roberts of Ex-Gay Watch, and BTB’s Jim Burroway issued an open letter demanding that Exodus lives up to its responsibilities by removing Don Schmierer from its board, firing president Alan Chambers for his inaction, publicly condemning forced or coerced conversion therapy schemes, and committing to ending participation in all future conferences calling for the criminalization or persecution of LGBT people.

Stephen Langa, of Kampala-based Family Life Network

March 12, 2009: Ugandan Conference Leaders Call For Another Meeting While Pushing Pedophilia Theme; Exodus Continues Silence. The conference is over, but the danger isn’t. Kampala-based Family Life Network’s Stephen Langa called for an urgent meeting for March 15.

March 12, 2009: Ex-Exodus Minister Condemns Uganda Conference. Canada’s New Direction ministry, which had left the Exodus network the year before over political differences, issued a statement condemning Exodus’ participation in the conference and calls for decriminalization of homosexuality around the world.

March 12, 2009: South African LGBT Advocates Condemn Exodus. South African Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (SA GLAAD) denounces the Kampala conference.

March 13, 2009: Exodus Applauds Schmierer\’s Part in Uganda Conference. Exodus finally breaks its silence — by “applauding” Don Schmierer for his effort to convey an “alternative message that encompasses a compassionate, biblical view of homosexuality.”

March 13, 2009: Scott Lively and Alan Chambers Respond to Questions About Uganda Conference. Scott Lively also weighs in, in which he confirms that he proposed forced conversion therapy as an “alternative” to imprisonment. “I don\’t think under the circumstances homosexuality should be decriminalized in Uganda since it seems to be the only thing stopping the international ‘gay’ juggernaut from turning Uganda into another Brazil,” he said.

Exodus International vice president Randy Thomas

March 13, 2009: Sanctimony Alert. Exodus International vice-president Randy Thomas decided to throw his two cents in: “It isn\’t going to be a gay activist yelling at the Ugandan government that will actually get our ssa (same-sex attracted) brothers and sisters out of jail. It will be people like me pleading with these leaders to recognize the Christ-likeness inherent in respecting self-determination and the dignity of every soul that draws breath. If I had the opportunity I would go directly to the jail and visit these people and plead for their freedom.”

Thomas would travel internationally in 2009. He took a wonderful and fun-filled trip to London just two months later, and he attended an ex-gay conference in Mexicali, Mexico in September.

March 16, 2009: Commentary: When Good Men Do Nothing. We have had numerous differences with Exodus International, but considering the wide range of anti-gay organizations in the United States, Exodus had a reputation for being among the lesser of the range of evils. But their puzzling and frustrating refusal to constructively engage in Uganda put their reputation to the test. And they were failing miserably.

March 17, 2009: Lively Defends Forced Therapy Proposal. Peter LaBarbera approvingly re-posted Scott Lively’s proposal for forced therapy, saying “The Ugandans are a thousand times better off inviting Scott Lively to their country than pro-homosexuality, Christian-hating activists like Wayne (‘Anything but Straight’) Besen.”

March 23, 2009: Schmierer’s & Lively’s Uganda Talks Continue to Reverberate. We finally learned some details of the March 15 follow-up meeting, in which Stephen Langa preached from two books: Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika and Richard Cohen’s Coming Out Straight. We also learn that one participant told the audience that parliament was drafting a new law that “will be tough on homosexuals.”

George Oundo

March 25, 2009: Another Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign May Have Begun In Uganda. Stephen Langa organized a press conference at the Hotel Triangle, scene of the March 5-7 anti-gay conference. This news conference, carried live on television and radio, featured a reputed ex-gay by the name of George Oundo, who named several prominent Ugandans as being part of an international homosexual conspiracy to recruit schoolchildren.

March 25, 2009: More on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Incitement. We learn more about Oundo’s accusations, in which he claims he had been part of an international conspiracy to lure schoolchildren into homosexuality. If Oundo’s allegations were true, then that would have meant that Oundo broke the law — a serious one at that. But no criminal investigations every took place. Surprised?

March 26, 2009: The “Ex-Gay” Star of the Uganda Anti-Gay Campaign. Here, we learn some background on George Oundo, who had a reputation in Uganda’s gay community for instability and for constantly seeking money.

We didn’t note the significance at the time, but we we also looked at the reputation of Uganda’s tabloid Red Pepper, which had been responsible for past public vigilante campaigns. We noted a curious article published on March 5, the same day the conference began, in which the Red Pepper wrote, “Members of Parliament are set to discuss the rate at which bumshafters are slowly but surely entrenching themselves in Uganda, Red Pepper can exclusively reveal. The meeting which is to take place on March 5 at the parliamentary conference hall will be officiated over by the first lady Janet Kataha Museveni.” [Emphasis added.]

March 26, 2009: Ugandan Gov’t Poised to Take “Stern Action” Against Gays. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo responded to calls for action from Family Life Network by saying that legislation was being prepared to “take stern action against promoters of homosexuality and lesbianism in Uganda.”

Family Life Network’s Stephen Langa speaking at a follow-up meeting on March 15.

March 27, 2009: Videos Surface of Ugandan Activist Stirring Anti-Gay Fervor; Fears of Violence Grows. Ex-gay Watch obtained exclusive videos of Stephen Langa’s talk at the March 15 follow-up meeting. Langa can be seen quoting from Lively’s The Pink Swastika and Michael Swift’s satire, A Gay Revolutionary, as though it were a factual manifesto.

March 30, 2009: Uganda Situation Continues To Deteriorate; Exodus Washes Their Hands. Langa appears on FM radio calling for mass arrests of gay people. The anonymous blogger GayUganda sums up Exodus’ position better than anyone: “Did his American friends know that they were stirring up this kind of hatred and hate mongering? They will throw up their hands in helplessness. They never planned this, they will say, with wide eyed innocence.” Maybe Exodus should hire GayUganda to write their public statements.

March 31, 2009: Uganda Activist Cites Disbarred “Therapist” As Authority on Homosexuality. Ex-Gay Watch posts another video of Stephen Langa preaching from Richard Cohen’s book, Coming Out Straight, at the March 15 meeting. Cohen is an American ex-gay “counselor” who has been banned for life by the American Counseling Association for ethical violations.

March 31, 2009: Forced Outings Continue As Uganda LGBT Advocates Allege Oundo Is In It For The Money. Family Life Network and George Oundo continue to hold news conferences to publicly accuse ordinary Ugandans of homosexuality. Sexual Minorities Uganda held a sparsely-attended news conference confirming some of our earlier reporting on George Oundo.

April 2, 2009: Press Release from Ugandan LGBT Advocacy Group. Sexual Minorities Uganda issued a press release calling for the protection of human rights for all Ugandans.

April 2, 2009: Exodus Maintains Month-Long Silence Amid Ugandan Gov’t Calls For LGBT Arrests. A popular Catholic priest — and rival to Stephen Langa — was publicly accused of homosexuality. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo and Member of Parliament Latif Sabagala appeared on radio KFM. Sabagala called on Uganda authorities to initiate mass arrests of accused homosexuals. Butuaro said that they would discuss the issue in Parliament.

April 3, 2009: Uganda to Ban LGBT Advocacy? The first reports of the outlines of a new bill begin to circulate. We noted a report from China’s Xinhua news agency that “The government is making preparations to enact a comprehensive law that will make it a criminal offense to promote homosexuality, said the official.” That official was James Nsaba Buturo.

April 6, 2009: Uganda Press Crank Up “Predator” Rhetoric. Uganda’s Weekly Observer published a series of tips on how to identify homosexuals, while the Red Pepper published a series of “confessions” by reputed LGBT people.

April 10, 2009: Uganda Columnist: “Happy Easter …Irrespective of Sexual Orientation”. A rare and welcome column appeared in Uganda’s largest independent newspaper The Monitor. Bernard Tabaire asked the question nobody else was asking: given Oundo’s “confession,” why hasn’t he been reported to police? He continues, “There is something potentially dangerous in what Mr Langa is doing in inveighing against fellow Ugandans just because they are not heterosexual. It will come as no surprise if individuals falsely name others as gay or lesbian to settle personal scores.”

April 15, 2009: Uganda’s Parliament Takes Up the Homosexual Problem. Little did we know, but the anti-gay conference is now reverberating around the halls of Parliament. Ethics and Integrity Minister Kames Nsabea Buturo warns Parliament that same-sex marriage is illegal in Uganda, and from their launches into a diatribe against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and advocacy groups, saying “Uganda will not be forced to legalise a practice that we consider illegal, unnatural and abnormal.” He appeals to media not to “give oxygen or publicity to these groups which are operating on fringes of our society.”

Opposition MP Christopher Kibanzanga recalled a recent press conference by Sexual Minorities Uganda (see Mar 31, 2009) and demanded that authorities round up and arrest everyone involved. “We must exterminate homosexuals before they exterminate society,” he said. Opposition MP Beatrice Anywar said, “as Ugandans we are saying that this is poison for the future generation as well as the current generation.” She also asked the government to ban the importation of “gadgets… that are being used by the lesbians.”

National Resistance Movement member (NRM, the ruling party) Grace Oburu asked, “is there no way that the country can further investigate these people and even outlaw them from this country? This is because they are killing our culture.” She also asked that the law be amended to add the death penalty. Both suggestions would eventually find their way into the Anti-Homosexuality Bill to be tabled before Parliament later this year. (See Apr 20, 2009 and Oct 15.) Buturo promised to return in a few weeks with a resolution for Parliament’s consideration (See Apr 29, 2009).

For the sake of providing a complete record, we have re-posted the relevant portions of the official transcript..

April 17, 2009: Uganda Government Attacks Human Rights Groups for “Promoting Homosexuality”. The US state department’s February 2009 Human Rights Report for 2008 decried Uganda’s dismal human rights record toward that nation’s LGBT citizens. The Ugandan government today launched a campaign against UNICEF for “promoting” homosexuality in Uganda.

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda\'s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009: Uganda’s Anti-Gay Vigilante Campaign Is Now In Full Swing. The Red Pepper finally does it. They publish their “killer dossier” — their own words — consisting of a full-page spread of names, photos, occupations, and other identifying features of more than fifty Ugandans accused of homosexuality.

April 20, 2009: Alan Chambers Addresses Developments In Uganda. “Several American gay activists and even some conservative Christians have raised a ruckus about the event and rightfully so. Uganda\’s policies seem reprehensible. Publicly exposing or arresting gay-identified men and women for homosexual behavior or forcing them to undergo therapy is a true violation of free will and a compassionless transgression.” BTB’s Jim Burroway saw this as a first opening, but noted that this statement needed to be much more public, not just a post on his personal blog.

April 20, 2009: Draft of a Death Penalty For Gays Created. We wouldn’t know about it until much later (see Sep 15, 2009), but as early as April and unknown to the world, Uganda’s political leadership was already plotting to propose legislation to exterminate gays in Uganda.

April 24, 2009: Uganda Anti-Gay Activists March, “Storm Parliament”. This seems to mark the entrance of Ugandan Evangelical pastor Martin Ssempa in this year’s events. Ssempa, who is associated with Saddleback pastor Rick Warren and is a recipient of U.S. funds to combat HIV/AIDS through “abstinence only” programs, has been linked to prior public vigilante campaigns against LGBT people. Ssempa joined Family Life Network’s Stephen Langa to demand that Parliament immediately launch a probe of “homosexual practices” in Uganda. Deputy speaker Rebecca Kadaga promised to amend Article 31 of the constitution which prohibits gay marriages but “not the actions.”

April 29, 2009: Parliament Passes Resolution Calling For a New Anti-Homosexuality Bill. MP David Bahati, a member of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) returned to Parliament asking for a resolution permitting him to submit a “private member’s” bill before Parliament to “strengthen” Uganda’s laws against homosexuality. (A private member’s bill is submitted by an individual member of Parliament and does not represent an official governmental proposal.)

A couple of MP’s questioned the need for the bill since homosexuality was already illegal, but others contend that a “strong message” was needed in order to “stop the spread of this vice.” The leader of the opposition, MP Morris Ogenga-Latigo put it this way: “It is not about criminalising homosexuality but an anti-homosexual one, which is different even from criminalising, which is already done. “Anti” means that we are going to provide for how we can campaign against it, what we must do with those who promote it, et cetera.”

MP Benson Obua-Ogwal, who would later be identified as helping to draft the Anti-Homosexuality BIll, spoke at length on what he characterized as an international conspiracy to make homosexuality legal in Uganda. He predicted that foreign donors would threaten to cut off aid. But he countered, “We have oil and very soon Uganda will be a donor in real terms, and we can afford to do without aid if it is pegged to homosexuality.” (BTB’s Jim Burroway would later explore that possibility on Dec. 4, 2009)

The motion to allow Bahati to submit the bill was passed. That bill would be submitted on October 14. (See also Oct 15, 2009 for the official text of the bill.)

For the sake of providing a complete record, we have re-posted the relevant portions of the official transcript.

May 4, 2009: Uganda Gays Arrested, Blackmail Attempts Reported. A couple was followed home from a bar in Mbale and arrested. Other arrests and blackmail attempts were also reported. The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) posted video of a March 29 broadcast on Nation TV featuring an appearance with George Oundo. It also show clips from a 2007 press conference by Sexual Minorities Uganda calling for the nation to allow LGBT people to live in peace. Interesting, everyone at the press conference wore masks.

May 14, 2009: Uganda’s Anti-Gay Campaign Snares LGBT People and Rival Pastors, Tabloid Promises More “Outings”. We learn a few more details about the arrest in Mbale and other arrests. We also learn that several Evangelical pastors are taking advantage of the latest anti-gay hysteria to exact revenge on rival pastors by publicly accusing them of homosexuality. Martin Ssempa is implicated in the false accusations.

June 1, 2009: Nazi Comparisons. Sexual Identity Therapy proponent and American evangelical professor Warren Throckmorton discusses Scott Lively’s equating the LGBT community with Nazism.

June 23, 2009: Scott Lively, Gays, and the Nazi Party. Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton published a twelve-part series on his web site examining Scott Lively’s The Pink Swastika. Throckmorton finds several instances of blatant distortion of the source material Lively and his co-author, Kevin Abrams, used in their book, which posits that homosexuality and Nazism are essentially the same movement. We provide links to the twelve posts which represent a remarkable exposé of Lively’s shameless exploitation of one of history’s darkest chapters.

Uganda Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Nsaba Buturo speaking about the government\’s stand on homosexuality at a press conference on Wednesday. (Anna Batcheller/Daily Monitor)

July 3, 2009: Uganda May Ban All LGBT Advocacy. Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo held a press conference and announce that he would bring a bill before Parliament to ban all free speech and advocacy by and on behalf of the country’s beleaguered LGBT community. He also promises not to yield to pressure from donor nations.

July 6, 2009: Sports Figure Latest Victim Of Ugandan Anti-Gay Offensive. The public vigilante campaign touches all areas of Ugandan life — even sports heroes.

July 26, 2009: Uganda Parliament To Take Up Bill Banning LGBT Free Speech. We receive further confirmation via Uganda’s independent newspaper The Monitor that the government is preparing a proposal to ban free speech on behalf of LGBT people.

September 15, 2009: Draft Anti-Gay Bill Circulating In Uganda. We receive a copy of the draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill dated April 20, 2009. It turns out the free speech limitations aren’t the worst part of the bill. This is the first time we learn that Uganda is considering the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.”


December 18th, 2009

Brilliant idea to put this up! Thank you so very, very much!!!


December 18th, 2009

Thank you for putting this up and the selection of the title was superb. Why even social cons like Bill Bennett can approve! Although in fairness, Bennett isn’t bad IMO.


December 19th, 2009

He may have been tardy in voicing his opinion, but The Archbishop of Canterbury actually spoke out publically about the Ugandan bill in part of a longer interview with the Daily Telegraph on 12th December.

It’s also reported on the
site (13th Dec) which also gives other coverage to this issue.


December 19th, 2009

Thank you so much guys for all the tough reporting and constant vigilance you have doen on this story. Your reporting sparked me to a near complete obsession (ask my poor wife) with this global, incredible story.
Perhaps you would like to add to the posts with a mention of all the facebook groups that have emerged as a result of your excellent reporting. Warren T. began Speak Out against Uganda’s anti-homosexuality bill 2009. now at over 12 k members
We then began sub groups to keep under 5000k so we can continue messaging all members. The folowing are some of the gourps I have been following, participating in and posting your links to.
Speak OUT GLBTQI America against Uganda’s anti gay bill 2009.

Insert the follwing countries:
Italy, Venezuela, Fiji, Scotland, South Africa, UK, Kenya, Ethiopia
States, Florida, California, Virginia, New England,
cities, Pittsburgh,
Chicago, Atlanta
Anglican Catholic
Methodists SDA’s
and GSA’s Gay Straight Alliance

A French language group started this week, Italian, Spanish and Portugeuse will follow

Other great sites!
-People against the pending gay genocide in Uganda has upwards of 45k members!
-Condemn Ugandas Death Penalty for gays
-Voices against Ugandas anti gay bill


December 19th, 2009

are you linked to the original conference videos?

Jim Burroway

December 20th, 2009

They weren’t original conference videos, but videos taken of a follow-up meeting on March 15. Back last March, we posted similar, higher-quality videos that Ex-Gay watch had obtained of that same meeting (see March 27 and March 31).

Jos Geudens

December 23rd, 2009

Thank you for your information…Is there any link between those gay-haters or churches with Kenya.. I suppose so..
Can you tell me more because i live in Kenya…


December 27th, 2009

If you don’t already know- I went looking for the article from the Monitor about the lesbian couple, and it seems to have been taken off the web. Unless you know of another place to find it in its entirety?

Jim Burroway

December 27th, 2009

The Monitor often moves their links around. I found the article here. I’ve also updated this post accordingly.


December 27th, 2009

The Monitor story is now located here:

Jim or Timothy, can you update the link in your original post?

David R. Larson

January 8th, 2010

Where should I go to find the most recent version of this proposed legislation as of January 8, 2009?

Jim Burroway

January 8th, 2010

While there have been numerous reports that the bill will be changed, it hasn’t been modified yet. The most current version of the bill is still what was proposed on October 15, 2009.


January 14th, 2010

An excellent rebuttal to the Bahati bill from within Africa by Sylvia Tamale, Dean of Law, Makerere University:


February 12th, 2010

Latest comment in media från Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi of the (Anglican) Church of Uganda:

Marlin Lavanhar

February 15th, 2010

On Valentines Day, more than 200 LGBT Ugandans (including many young adults) gathered in Kampala to strategize and organize a response to the anti-gay bill that is about to voted on by the Ugandan parliament

Risking arrest and imprisonment these courageous activists convened by Ugandan Unitarian Universalist minister Mark Kiyimba, in conjunction with Spectrum Uganda and other grassroots LGBT community organizations engaged in hours of discussions. One organizer described it as a “Pride Parade in a closet.” Although the subject matter was deadly serious.

The conference attendees called for complete decriminalization of homosexuality, full access to services, human rights and protection by the state. Sessions included talks by religious and human rights activists. The keynote speaker was Anglican Bishop and Integrity Uganda president Christopher Ssenyojo, a champion ally of LGBT rights spoke on the theme of Love and justice. Bishop Christopher, was formerly exiled from Uganda and continues to offer Christian sanctuary to the LGBT community at great risk.

Immediately following the conference, the Ugandan Daily Monitior newpaper reported that police are currently seeking to find and arrest the organizers of the conference. (link below)

At the meeting there was a strong sense from grassroots folks of feeling supported and given a voice in the midst of feeling persecuted and demeaned. The conference culminated in a petition for equality which is to be presented to the speaker of the house or a local member of parliament. The conference has promised to bring legal action against the state if the bill is passed. Organizers stated that a procession had been planned to deliver the petition on foot, but as one organizer put it: “If we walk through the streets we will surely be stoned.”

According to Pastor Kiyimba, whose church members include many LGBT persons, “I cannot stand by and watch as my community is exterminated. My church will become illegal and cease to exist if this bill becomes law”