“The Family” Opposes Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill
December 16th, 2009
Jeff Sharlet, of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, wrote a guest post on Warren Throckmorton’s web site which updates his November appearance on NPR’s Fresh Air where he revealed ties between the secretive Evangelical movement known as “The Family” and Uganda’s politicians behind the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In this latest guest post, Sharlet says that The Family opposes the bill and key members are working behind the scenes to stop it from becoming law.
In Sharlet’s book, he identified Bob Hunter as a key organizer for The Family in Uganda during the 1980’s becoming friends with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and helping him establish the Ugandan Prayer Breakfast. Sharlet was finally able to get in contact with Hunter and spent an afternoon detailing the events in Uganda. Sharlet writes:
We agreed that the first step was a statement making clear Bob\’s opposition to the bill. Moreover, Bob adds “I know of no one involved in Uganda with the Fellowship here in America, including the most conservative among them, that supports such things as killing homosexuals or draconian reporting requirements, much less has gone over to Uganda to push such positions.”
That\’s very, very good news. The Fellowship prefers to avoid the limelight; Bob has forsaken that to make clear his position and that of his American associates: The Fellowship, AKA the Family, opposes the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill. [Emphases in the original.]
In his book, Sharlet pointed out that while the Family has a strongly conservative bent, they do not exclude liberals or moderates from their ranks. Hunter had previously served in the Ford and Carter administrations, and had a strong background in consumer advocacy. Sharlet continues:
Over the course of the afternoon he [Hunter] shared with me his experience working with the Fellowship in Burundi, Rwanda, and South Africa. While I may take issue with the Fellowship\’s behind-the-scenes approach, there\’s no denying that in each of these cases Bob and his associates were working toward extremely admirable ends, and that in the case of Burundi Bob\’s efforts helped make the difference that brought a truce to that country\’s warring factions. Bob did what he did with the best of intentions, and, in several instances, achieved the best of outcomes.
While Sharlet exonerates Hunter’s role in the development of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and further says that no American Family member has played a direct role in it’s promotion, he notes the religious revival that has taken place in Uganda since the 1980’s and the prominent role Americans, including Family members, have played in shaping the rhetorical nature of that revival including its anti-gay aspects. And he believes that those Family members have a special responsibility, which many of them are not living up to:
I\’d add that through the Fellowship, a number of anti-gay American politicians have involved themselves with Ugandan affairs, most notably Senator James Inhofe, who has spoken of having “adopted” Uganda and who has been a guest at multiple Ugandan National Prayer Breakfasts. I don\’t believe James Inhofe told David Bahati to push this legislation. I believe Inhofe when he says – under pressure – that he\’s opposed to it. But the fact is, these powerful politicians, representatives of the most powerful nation on the world and its foreign aid generosity, are clear and candid in their opposition to homosexuality. That\’s their right. But I believe they should therefore be even more clear and candid in their opposition to its criminalization. Theirs is a personal, religious position. They should extra precautions to make clear that these positions are in absolutely no way linked to the relationships between the United States and foreign aid recipients. Not only have they not done that, they resisted even condemning the bill.
Uganda’s “Kill Gays” Bill Sparks Schism Inside The Family; U.S. Sens. Remain Silent
December 10th, 2009
Rachel Maddow had author Jeff Sharlet on her program last night. Sharlet is the author of The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, and has been following the connections of The Family to the current attempt in Uganda to legislate LGBT people out of existence through its draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act. That proposed Act is now reportedly being modified to drop the death penalty but add forced conversions. If true, that would provide even more evidence that the anti-gay conference last March by three American ex-gay proponents was a major factor in propelling this bill to where we are today.
Sharlet had earlier identified Ugandan Member of Parliament David Bahati, who introduced the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda’s Parliament, as a “rising star” and member of The Family. It is The Family that organizes the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., and Bahati has played a role in organizing the Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast for some time.
While the March anti-gay conference in Kampala played a huge role in providing impetus for the proposed legislation, Sharlet reports that the idea for the draconian bill predates that conference. According to Sharlet, Bahati got the idea for the Anti-Homosexuality Act at the October 2008 Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast where he floated the idea during a private meeting. Sharlet reports that other Family members tried to dissuade Bahati from his plans, but in the end they work a balance “between access and accountability” and the decided that access to Ugandan political figures was more important than holding them accountable for the lives of a reviled minority.
Sharlet reports that Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) may have attended this particular prayer breakfast, although he’s still trying to get confirmation of that. He has been very active in Ugandan Prayer breakfasts in the past and travels to Uganda about twice a year. Ugandan Family members credit Inhofe for making the Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast a success.
Sharlet reports that the bill has caused something of a schism between the Ugandan and American branches of The Family. While several American members of The Family are quietly trying to put a stop to the bill, Sens. Inhofe and Sam Brownback (R-KS) have refused to step up, characterizing the bill as an internal Ugandan matter that they don’t want to “interfere” with — despite the fact that they’ve had no reluctance to “interfere” in Ugandan matters where condom distribution to fight AIDS is concerned.
David Bahati and Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba Buturo plan to come to the American National Prayer Breakfast in February 2009. Sharlet reports that the Ugandans pushing for this bill may be dis-invited to the Prayer Breakfast.
This is important news to help place the line of events into context. While it appears that the anti-gay conference put on by three American ex-gay proponents wasn’t the source for the idea of outlawing LGBT people, it certainly played a major role in making this proposal a reality by putting a public face on the “pressure” for the legislation. That conference served as a launching pad for a public campaign demanding that “something be done” — a campaign that included further meetings and demonstrations, culminating in an orgy of public outings and denunciations as part of a national vigilante campaign. Throughout the campaign, the words and writings of the three American activists were used as fuel to propel the hysteria further. All of this breathed new life into a germ of an idea hatched five months earlier.
Bloomberg: Uganda To Drop Death Penalty, Add Forced “Conversions”
December 9th, 2009
Uganda will drop the death penalty and life imprisonment for gays in a refined version of an anti- gay bill expected to be ready for presentation to Parliament in two weeks, James Nsaba Buturo, the minister of ethics and integrity, said.
The draft bill, which is under consideration by a parliamentary committee, will drop the two punishments to attract the support of religious leaders who are opposed to these penalties, Buturo said today in a phone interview from the capital, Kampala.
But it looks like another idea taken directly from the three-day conference last March is finding its way into the bill — forced conversions:
In addition to formulating punishments for the gay people, the bill will also promote counseling to help “attract errant people to acceptable sexual orientation,” said Buturo.
This sounds remarkably like the recommendation that came out of the conference put on last March by Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus International board member Don Schmierer, and the International Healing Foundation’s Caleb Brundidge. According to that recommendation, LGBT people would receive either a lighter or suspended sentence if they went into disproved, unscientific counseling to try to “cure” them of their “affliction.” Of course, a choice between a Ugandan prison and “counseling” is a false choice as anyone with half decent intelligence can quickly deduce. Unsaid is what happens when that counseling inevitably fails.
Scott Lively is already on record as supporting this idea. Does Richard Cohen? More importantly, does Exodus International? Or will they do the right thing and denounce these modifications as unacceptable? I’ll let you lay odds in the comments.
Meawhile, it appears that other draconian aspects of the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act will remain intact. Other provisions in the bill would:
- Expand the definitions for homosexual acts, making conviction easier.
- Criminalize “attempted homosexuality” with imprisonment of seven years.
- Criminalize all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
- Criminalize the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment. This penalty may be reduced in the new version, but the act still appears to be criminalized to some extent.
- Add a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual\’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Add an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
- Void all international treaties, agreements and human rights obligations which conflict with this bill.
Uganda Responds To International Furor Over “Kill Gays” Bill
December 3rd, 2009
(Update: The Daily Monitor has more details on Nsaba Buturo’s statement at the government Media Centre. See below for details)
James Nsaba Buturo, Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, has issued a statement through the Ugandan government’s official Media Centre addressing criticisms over the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Act. This is the bill that provides the death penalty for conviction of homosexuality under certain circumstances, provides a lifetime imprisonment for all other cases, and a seven year sentence for “attempted” homosexuality. It also criminalizes free speech on behalf of LGBT citizens (seven year’s imprisonment) and criminalizes all acquaintance of gay people (failure to report gays to police within 24 hours of learning someone is gay brings a three year prison sentence). Sweden announced that they intend to cut aid to Uganda should this bill go forward. Nsaba Buturo responds:
There is a Bill in Parliament known as the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. This subject is causing a great deal of interest around the world. The people of Uganda believe that practicing anal sex at the expense of heterosexual sex is not a normal practice. Ugandans know or believe that homosexuality involves practices that are dangerous and high risk to the human body which is designed for heterosexual functions. Ugandans also believe that anal sexual intercourse, foreign objects used in sexual intercourse and promiscuity do not deserve to be defended at all. Having said that, it is clear to many of us that the over reaction so far is not surprising to us. Uganda accepts that in some countries it is normal practice for men to sleep with men and women with women. It is often defended that imperatives of human rights defend this practice. We do not believe so in Uganda. Majority of Ugandans hate to see the promotion of illegalities that they consider as dysfunctional, abnormal and unhealthy.
Ever since the Bill on Homosexuality was presented in Parliament, there have been various reactions as well as over-reactions from countries which are annoyed at our independence to enact our Laws. Consequently, we hear they are threatening to take action against Uganda. It is revealing that support to Uganda literally translated means that it is on condition that Uganda should do the bidding of givers of such support regardless of what Ugandans themselves think. It is also revealing that support which would benefit countless number of orphans, children and mothers can be withdrawn simply because Government is protecting its citizens against vices such as homosexuality. Government has been clear about this matter that homosexuality or homosexual practices will not be promoted, encouraged and recommended to the people of Uganda.
Finally, on the issue of the Bill, those who are promising threats to the people of Uganda need to be helped to understand that the Bill is going through the normal democratic process of debate. The Bill is not the final document that will become Law. If there is belief that threats will influence Parliament to debate against the wishes of Uganda, those responsible for such threats should forget. We should all wait to see how Members of Parliament will acquit themselves over this matter.
It’s difficult to know how to read this statement. It is certainly a vigorous defense of Uganda’s willingness to do whatever they want against a reviled minority. But it also hints at changes in the proposed law. Whether that comes to pass is uncertain. But one thing we do know is this: they are certainly feeling the heat. The UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on AIDS in Africa, Elizabeth Mataka, was in Kampala to attend events commemorating World AIDS Day. While there, she reportedly met on Monday with MP David Bahati, the primary sponsor of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, to voice the UN’s concerns over the bill’s effects on anti-AIDS efforts. She was also expected to meet with President Yoweri Museveni.
Update: The Daily Monitor has a story about remarks Nsabe Buturo made at the government Media Centre yesterday. In response to Sweeden’s threat to withhold aid to Uganda if the bill passes, Buturo said:
“Homosexuality will not be promoted, encouraged or supported in Uganda,” Mr Buturo added.
Mr Buturo told journalists at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala that: “We should remind them (the donors) that there is integrity to be defended and threats are not the way to go. If one chooses to withdraw their aid, they are free because Ugandans do not want to engage in anal sex. We do not care.”
…As Mr Buturo was castigating donors, the Uganda Human Rights Commission announced that it will scrutinise the Bill and make recommendations before it is debated. Commission Chairman, Mr Med Kaggwa, said the exercise will help establish whether the Bill, which has been criticised by some rights groups, violates human rights.
“What I can say is that we are human rights defenders and if they (gays) come and complain of discrimination we shall handle their cases,” he said without divulging details.
Buturo also complained of foreign aid doners publicly denouncing the Anti-Homosexuality Act. He believes that such complaints should be made in private.
Uganda Parliament, Religious Leaders Weigh Death Penalty for LGBT People
November 2nd, 2009
As we reported last week, several Ugandan Christian leaders have spoken out on the Anti-Homosexuality Act which has been introduced in that nation\’s Parliament, but their statements have largely been in full support with the bill – with a few reservations about the proposed death penalty for “serial offenders” and those who are HIV-positive. Those comments were made during discussions in a Parliament committee.
We’ve learned more details of those committee discussions held on October 28. Participants included members of Parliament David Bahati and Benson Obua Ogwal who are co-sponsors of the bill, and Minister of Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba-Buturo. Invited speakers included:
- The Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, provincial secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda;
- John Kakembo, of the Seventh Day Adventist Church;
- Dr. Joseph Sserwadda, representing the nation\’s Pentecostal churches;
- Prof. Peter Matoyu, a university professor representing the Metropolitan Orthodox Church of Kampala.
- Sheikh Mohammad Ali, representing the Muslim Mufti of Uganda;
MP David Bahati, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, insisted that homosexuality was not a human right but “a bad habit.” He also repeated much of the false “science” promulgated by American anti-gay extremists, including the false charge that the life expectancy of gays are twenty-years shorter than that of non-gays. MP Bahati’s repeated most of his points in support of his bill in a column that appeared in yesterday’s Observer, in which he called the bill “a nice piece of legislation“:
Uganda is not a copycat of other countries. We can\’t do what other countries are doing—especially when such countries are doing the wrong things. The fact that the moral fabric in America and Europe has been put under siege by the supporters of this creeping evil of homosexuality should not suggest that we should follow suit.
And I think supporting the cause of this Bill will provide Uganda as a country an opportunity to provide leadership in this area of safeguarding the traditional family. I must also point out that this Bill is not about hate or discrimination. We are not involved in a hate campaign.
…But ever since we tabled this Bill, we have come under attack. People have argued that we are promoting a hate campaign against homosexuals. And these attacks are coming mostly from civil society members who claim that homosexuality is a human right.
These same groups have persistently continued to place this evil in the category of human rights. They have rallied people to resist the Bill. They argue that we are targeting homosexuals, we hate them. But some of the people behind these messages are mothers and respectable people in our country.
…On top of this are the NGOs that are hugely involved in recruiting and giving money to our young children with the intention of swaying them into this evil practice.
But Uganda will never exchange her dignity for money. While we are poor in terms of finances, we are extremely rich in dignity. And we will never accept homosexuality for the sake of appeasing other countries or as an incentive for their money.
MP Bahati reviewed what his draconian bill would do. If passed, it would:
- Reaffirm the lifetime sentence currently provided upon conviction of homosexuality, and extends the definition from sexual activity to merely “touch[ing] another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.”
- Create a new category of “aggravated homosexuality” which provides for the death penalty for “repeat offenders” and for cases where the individual is HIV-positive.
- Provides compensation for “victims” of homosexuality. This provision would encourage an accused\’s consensual partner to claim that he or she was a “victim,” not only to escape criminal penalties, but also to demand compensation from his or her partner.
- Expand the definition of homosexuality to include “touching.” Current law requires proof of penetration. The proposed law would dramatically lower the burden of proof for penalties involving lifetime sentences or even death.
- Criminalizes all speech and peaceful assembly for those who advocate on behalf of LGBT citizens in Uganda with fines and imprisonment of between five and seven years.
- Criminalizes the act of obtaining a same-sex marriage abroad with lifetime imprisonment.
- Adds a clause which forces friends or family members to report LGBT persons to police within 24-hours of learning about that individual\’s homosexuality or face fines or imprisonment of up to three years.
- Adds an extra-territorial and extradition provisions, allowing Uganda to prosecute LGBT Ugandans living abroad.
Death Sentence Provisions Questioned
The Parliamentary committee heard from several of Uganda’s religious leaders, beginning with Rev. Canon Aaron Mwesigye, provincial secretary of the Anglican Church of Uganda. As has been widely reported, he spoke out against only one provision of the bill, the section which provides the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality”. The pro-government newspaper New Vision quoted Mwesigye this way:
“Can death as a form of punishment help one to reform? Some people are convicted of murder but after they have been killed, it\’s proved they were innocent. What would be done in such circumstances? We should emphasize life imprisonment.”
Mwesigye also questioned the wisdom of the extra-territorial provisions in the bill, saying that those provisions might not be practical. Otherwise, he was complementary of the bill overall, but suggested that some portions of the bill didn’t go far enough. For example, on the section providing compensation for “victims,” he suggested that secondary victims — spouses, parents, and children of those who claim to have been seduced — also deserve compensation.
John Kakembo, of the Seventh Day Adventist Church, also questioned the death sentence, but otherwise praised the bill. He also repeated Mwesigye\’s suggestion that the definition of victims be expanded for compensation. He justified this by calling all gay people predatory, claiming that he was targeted by foreigners when he was younger.
Themes of rampant criminality and wild predatory practices are extremely common in portrayals of LGBT people in Uganda. Prof. Peter Matoyu, who was representing the Metropolitan Orthodox Church of Kampala made some very incendiary and fanciful charges along those lines. He claimed that while a student in the U.S., a professor forced him to pretend that he and other Ugandan students were gay as part of their studies, and that they were in danger of being murdered by American gays if their ruse were discovered. This rhetoric only feeds the anti-gay frenzy that frequently grips the nation.
Government support for proposed legislation
Ethics and Integrity Minister James Nsaba-Buturo also spoke before the committee, and said that while the proposed act was highly controversial, he assured the panel that its passage would give Uganda a place of honor among civilized nations.
This is significant, as Nsaba-Buturo appears to have the full backing of President Yoweri Museveni, who, in Uganda’s paper-thin trappings of democratic functioning, is the real power in the country after having overthrown his predecessor in a civil war in 1986. In a statement released on the official web site of the Office of the President, Nsaba-Buturo has already warned Uganda’s media against “promoting homosexuality,” reminding them that a new law was being proposed to make all advocacy or positive portrayal of homosexuality tantamount to pornography and become subject to criminal penalties. This is no idle threat; Uganda’s press is not entirely free and the government has very recently shut down several broadcasters that have been critical of government policies.
“Total support” for the death penalty
While some Ugandan Christian leaders have expressed reservations about the death penalty provisions – while being perfectly happy with lifetime imprisonment for being gay, at least one prominent Uganda preacher has given the new law his total support. Martin Ssempa of Makerere Community Church was not at the parliamentary meeting, but he did send a statement to Grove City College professor Warren Throckmorton in which he offered his “total support of the bill and would be most grateful if it did pass.”
Ssempa enjoys close ties to Uganda\’s First Lady, Janet Museveni, and as been tied to US pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church. In 2005, Warren described Ssempa as “his indispensable sidekick,” but now he appears to be reeling back his support for the Ugandan megachurch pastor. In a statement released to Warren Throckmorton, Rick Warren wrote:
Martin Ssempa does not represent me, my wife Kay, Saddleback Church, nor the Global PEACE Plan strategy. In 2007, we completely severed contact with Mr. Ssempa when we learned that his views and actions were in serious conflict with our own.
Rev. Warren also enjoys close ties with Uganda\’s First Lady and he had recently named Uganda a “Purpose Driven Nation.”
We do not know the Uganda President\’s position on this bill. While his very prominent Minister of Ethics and Integrity had taken a very personal interest in this bill almost immediately following an anti-gay conference in Kampala by three American anti-gay activists, there has been no official statement from the President\’s office. Almost all important bills are introduced by the President directly, but this proposed legislation is what’s called a “private member” bill. This has led some to suspect that President Museveni may be hedging his bets to gauge international reaction.
Draft Anti-Gay Bill Circulating In Uganda
September 15th, 2009
Uganda appears to be inching closer to “strengthening” its already draconian anti-gay laws which already provide for a possible life sentence for those convicted of homosexuality. A draft of the proposed bill obtained by Box Turtle Bulletin indicates that Ugandan lawmakers intend to go much further.
In a draft dated April 20, 2009 and being circulated surreptitiously, the proposed bill creates an offense of “aggravated homosexuality” and provides for the death penalty under specific circumstances. It also provides for at least five years imprisonment (and no apparent maximum) for advocating on behalf of LGBT people. This extends not just to activists and organizations, but to individuals as well, including bloggers or anyone else using the internet or mobile phones — as well as anyone who makes a donation or offers a safe refuge for LGBT people. Furthermore, if anyone is “aware of the commission of any offense under this Act” and fails to report it to the police, they will be liable of up to six months imprisonment.
The draft also extends jurisdiction to people who are Uganda citizens or permanent residents but who commit offenses outside the country. This could mean that LGBT Ugandans abroad who engage in advocacy work could find themselves in danger of being imprisoned should they return to Uganda. LGBT Ugandans fleeing the country could also face extradition should they find themselves in a similarly hostile country.
The accompanying memorandum calls on the Uganda government to withdraw from any international obligations or treaties which the government interprets as running counter to the country’s anti-gay policies.
It is unclear at this time whether the proposed bill has undergone any modifications since April. There is no word yet on when the bill will be formally introduced into Parliament. It is believed that under current conditions when accusations of homosexuality have become a potent political tool, that few if any lawmakers will vote against the bill. It will be passed into law upon its third reading.
This drafting of this bill appears to have coincided with intense lobbying efforts by anti-gay activists following a conference held in Kampala which featured American Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus International board member Don Schmierer. Exodus International released a statement “appauding” Don Schierer’s participation in the conference which ended with calls to strengthen Uganda’s homosexuality laws with a proposal to force LGBT people into ex-gay therapy upon conviction. That proposal does not appear in this draft.
That anti-gay conference quickly spawned other anti-gay meetings and rallies, including a march on Parliament on April 24, about the time this draft was written. By then, rumors were already circulating that anti-gay politicians sought to criminalize LGBT advocacy, which this draft appears to confirm. In July, Uganda’s Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo confirmed their intention to eliminate free speech for and on behalf of LGBT people. Meanwhile, a full-fledged public vigilante campaign was released on Uganda’s gay community, leading to several reports of arrests and reports.
The following is the full text of the draft that we received.
APRIL 20, 2009
THE ANTI – HOMOSEXUALITY BILL, 2009
1. The Principle
The object of this Bill is to establish a comprehensive legislation to protect the traditional family by prohibiting (i) any form of sexual relations between people of the same sex; and (ii) the promotion or recognition of such sexual relations in public institutions as healthy, normal or an acceptable lifestyle, including in the public schools, through or with the support of any government entity in Uganda or any non- governmental organization inside or outside the country. Research indicates that the homosexuality has a variety of negative consequences including higher incidences of violence, sexually transmitted diseases, and use of drugs. The higher incidence of separation and break-up in homosexual relationships also creates a highly unstable environment for children raised by homosexuals through adoption or otherwise, and can have profound psychological consequences on those children. In addition, the promotion of homosexual behavior undermines our traditional family values.
Given Uganda\’s historical, legal, cultural and religious values which maintain that the family, based on marriage between a man and a woman is the basic unit of society. This Bill aims at strengthening the nation\’s capacity to deal with emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family. These threats include: redefining human rights to elevate homosexual and transgender behavior as legally protected categories of people.
This legislation is aimed at halting the advance of the “sexual rights” agenda, which seeks to establish additional legally protected classes based on sexual preferences and behaviors, as well as claims that people have rights based on these preferences and behaviors. Sexual rights activists have created new euphemisms to promote this agenda such as “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” “sexual minorities” and “sexual rights.”
This legislation further recognizes the fact that same sex attraction is not an innate and immutable characteristic and that people who experience this mental disorder can and have changed to a heterosexual orientation. It also recognizes that because homosexuals are not born that way, but develop this disorder based on experiences and environmental conditions, it is preventable, especially among young people who are most vulnerable to recruitment into the homosexual lifestyle.
The Republic of Uganda needs comprehensive and enhanced legislation to protect our cultural, legal, religious, and traditional family values against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sexual promiscuity on Uganda.
There is also need to protect our children and youths who are made vulnerable to sexual abuse and deviation as a result of cultural changes, uncensored information technologies, parentless child developmental settings and increasing attempts by homosexuals to raise children in homosexual relationships through adoption, foster care, or otherwise.
2. Defects in the existing law.
This legislation is designed to fill the gaps in the provisions of the constitution of Uganda and the penal code Act by establishing that, in Uganda, marriage is only between a man and a woman and that no other sexual unions or relationships will be recognized by the government.
The Penal Code Act (Cap 20) does not directly address this issue of homosexuality. It instead talks about unnatural offenses under section 145. This section does not specifically talk about homosexuality as an offense. It does not even have any reference to homosexuality. Not surprisingly the Act does not have a definition for homosexuality in the definition section.
The Penal Code Act does not explicitly address the issue of same sex unions and gender identity disorders which are damaging the social fabric of our nation at an alarming rate. There are no provisions in the Penal Code Act panelizing the procurement, promotion, disseminating literature and other forms of report for the offenses of homosexuality hence the need for legislation to provide for charging, investigating, prosecuting, convicting and sentencing of offenders on the above law. There is need for equal treatment of man and woman before the law in regard to homosexual offenses.
This legislation comes to complement and supplement the provisions of the Constitution of Uganda and the Penal Code Act by not only criminalizing same sex marriages but same -sex sexual acts and other related acts.
3.1. The objectives of the Bill
The objectives of the Bill are:
(a) To protect marriage as that only between a man and a woman in Uganda;
(b) To prohibit homosexual behavior and related practices in Uganda as they constitute a threat to the traditional family;
(c) To safeguard the health of Ugandan citizens from the negative effects of homosexuality and related practices;
(d) To establish progressive legislation protective of the traditional family that can serve as a model for other countries;
(e) To prohibit ratification of any international treaties, conventions, protocols and declarations which are contrary or inconsistent with the provisions of this Act;
(f) To ensure that no international instruments to which Uganda is already a party can be interpreted or applied in Uganda in a way that was never intended at the time the document was created;
(e) To withdraw from any international agreements to which Uganda already is a party, or file reservations to them, which are re-interpreted to include protection for homosexual behavior, or that promote same-sex marriage, or that call for the promotion or teaching about homosexuality as being healthy, normal, or an acceptable lifestyle choice, or that seek to establish sexual behavior, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or sexual minorities as legally protected categories of people; and
(f) To prohibit Uganda from becoming a party to any new international instruments that expressly include protection for homosexual behavior; promote same-sex marriage; call for the promotion or teaching about homosexuality or homosexual relations as being healthy, normal, or an acceptable lifestyle choice; and/or seek to establish sexual behavior, sexual orientation, gender identity or sexual minorities as legally protected categories of people
3.2. Part 1 of the Bill incorporating clauses 1 and 2 provides for Preliminary matters relating to commencement and Interpretation of the words and phrases used in the Bill
3.3. Part II of the Bill incorporating clause 3 to clause 6 prohibits homosexuality and related practices by introducing the offences of engaging in homosexuality, and the penalties of imprisonment upon conviction. This part also creates offences and penalties for acts that promote homosexuality, failure to report the offence and impose a duty on the Community to report Suspected Cases of homosexuality.
3.4. Part III of the Bill incorporating of clause 7 to clauses 9 provides for the jurisdiction of Ugandan Courts in Case of Homosexuality, including extra territorial Jurisdiction.
3.5. Part IV of the Bill incorporating clauses 10 and 11 provides for miscellaneous provisions on International Treaties, Protocols, Declarations and Conventions and the Minister to make regulations to give effect to the Act.
4. Schedule 1 of the Bill gives the value of the currency.
Hon. David Bahati
MP, Ndorwa County West
ARRANGEMENT OF CLAUSES
PART I -PRELIMINARY
PART II – PROHIBITION OF HOMOSEXUALITY
3. Offence of Homosexuality
4. Aggravated Homosexuality
5. Promoting Homosexuality
6. Failure to report offence
PART III – JURISDICTION
8. Extra – territorial Jurisdiction
PARTIV – MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
10. International treaties
PART I – PRELIMINARY
1 – Commencement
This Act shall come into force upon publication in the Gazette.
2 – Interpretation
In this Act, unless the Context otherwise requires –
“Gender” means male or female;
“Homosexuality” means same gender or same sex sexual acts;
“Homosexual” means a person who engages or attempts to engage in same gender sexual activity.
“Minister” means the Minister responsible for Ethics and Integrity.
“Sexual act” means –
(a) Stimulation or penetration of a vagina or mouth or anus or any part of the body, however slight of any person by a sexual organ;
(b) The use of any object or organ by a person on another person\’s sexual organ or anus or mouth;
“Sexual organ” means-a vagina or penis.
PART II: PROHIBITION OF HOMOSEXUALITY AND RELATED PRACTICES
3. Prohibition of homosexuality
(1) Homosexuality is prohibited.
(2) Any person who engages in homosexuality contrary to sub-section (1) commits an offense and on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding 500 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years or both.
4. Aggravated homosexuality
(1) Any person who commits the offense mentioned in section 3 above with another person who is below the age of 18 years in any of the circumstances specified in sub-section (2) of this section commits the offense and on conviction is liable to suffer death.
(2) The circumstances referred to in sub-section (1) are as follows: –
(a) Where the person against whom the offense is committed is below the age of 14;
(b) Where the offender is infected with HIV;
(c) Where the offender is a parent or guardian or a person in authority over, the person against whom the offense is committed;
(d) Where the victim of the offense is a person with disability; or
(e) Where the offender is a serial offender.
(3) Any person who attempts to commit the offense of homosexuality with another person below 18 years in any of the circumstances specifies in sub-section (2), commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
(4) Where a person is charged with the offense under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.
(5) Any person who without the consent of an adult victim being under their authority or not commits the offense mentioned in this section
5. Promotion of homosexuality
(1) Any person who,
(a) Participates in production, trafficking, procuring, marketing, broadcasting, disseminating, publishing homosexual materials;
(b) Funds or sponsors homosexuality and related activities
(c) Offers premises and other fixed or movable assets
(d) Uses electronic devices which include internet, films, mobile phone and
(f) Who acts as an accomplice or attempts to legitimize or in any way abets homosexuality and related practices
Commits an offense and on conviction is liable to a fine of five thousand currency points or imprisonment of at least five years or both.
(2) Where the offender is a corporate body or a business or an association or a Non-governmental organization conviction its Certificate of Registration shall be cancelled and the Director(s) or proprietors or promoter(s) shall be criminally liable.
6. Failure to report the offense
Any person who being aware of the commission of any offense under this Act omits to report the offense to the relevant authorities within 24 hours commits an offense and on conviction is liable to a fine not exceeding five hundred currency points or imprisonment not exceeding six months year.
PART IV -JURISDICTION
Save for aggravated homosexuality which shall be tried by the High Court, other offenses under this Act shall be tried by the Magistrates Court.
8. Extra – Territorial Jurisdiction.
This Act shall apply to offences Committed outside Uganda Where-
(1) A person who, while being a citizen of, or permanently residing in Uganda, Commits an act Outside Uganda, which act would Constitute an offence had it been Committed in Uganda.
(2) The offence was committed partly outside and or partly in Uganda.
A person charged with offence under this Act shall be liable to extradition under the existing Extradition laws.
10. Nullification of inconsistent International treaties, protocols, declarations and conventions.
(1). Any international legal instrument whose provisions are contradictory to the spirit and provisions enshrined in this Act, are null and void to the extent of their inconsistency.
(2). The foreign definitions of “sexual orientation”, “sexual rights”, “sexual minorities”, “gender identity” shall not be used in anyway to legitimize homosexuality, gender identity disorders and related practices in Uganda.
The Minister may by statutory instrument make regulations to effect implementation of the provisions of this Act, and Promote the objects of this Act.
One currency point is equivalent to twenty thousand Shillings.
Uganda May Ban All LGBT Advocacy
July 3rd, 2009
Uganda’s Minister for Ethics and Integrity, James Nsaba Buturo, announced at a press conference on Wednesday that he would be submitting a bill before the Uganda Parliament to ban all forms of expression in support for LGBT people in that country:
He noted that once the Bill is passed into law, it will be an offence to publish and distribute literature on homosexuality or advocate for it. He also stated that it would become impossible for homosexuals to address press conferences and attract people to their cause, once the Bill becomes law. He, however, declined to reveal the penalties for offenders.
Buturo acknowledged that several donor organizations have asked for the elimination of that nation’s draconian anti-sodomy law. Many of those service organizations see the law as being a huge roadblock to their health and anti-HIV/AIDS efforts. Current law punishes homosexual acts with a lifetime sentence. Buturo was defiant against calls to ease these restrictions:
“I have been pressured by some donors to allow homosexuality, but I have told them they can keep their money and the homosexuality because it is not about charity at the expense of our moral destruction,” Mr Buturo said.
Mr Buturo said the homosexual forces are very powerful and operating through powerful governments to have their desire fulfilled but Uganda will not succumb to any pressure to legalise unnatural sex and homosexuality in particular.
Uganda Government Attacks Human Rights Groups for “Promoting Homosexuality”
April 17th, 2009
On February 25th the US State Department released it’s 2008 Human Rights Report. Here is what it had to say about Uganda:
The government’s human rights record remained poor. Although there were improvements in a few areas, serious problems remained, including unlawful killings by security forces; mob violence; torture and abuse of suspects by security forces; poor prison conditions; official impunity; arbitrary arrest; incommunicado and lengthy pretrial detention; restrictions on the right to a fair trial and on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion; sexual abuse of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in camps; restrictions on opposition parties; electoral irregularities; official corruption; violence and discrimination against women and children, including female genital mutilation (FGM) and sexual abuse of children; trafficking in persons; violence and discrimination against persons with disabilities and homosexuals; restrictions on labor rights; and forced labor, including child labor.
So it is not without cause that human rights organizations are active within the country. But it also should not come as a surprise that governmental officials chafe at the criticism from such groups.
Now they have found a way to strike back. According to Uganda’s government-owned New Vision:
The UN children\’s agency, Unicef, and human rights watchdog Amnesty International are among the organisations promoting homosexuality in Uganda, the Government said yesterday.
Ethics and integrity minister Dr. James Nsaba Buturo, in a hard-hitting statement to Parliament, also implicated Human Rights Watch, Frontline Human Rights Defenders and East Horn of Africa Human Rights in the “racket”.
The organisations, Buturo said, were working with local groups which depend on them for funding, to spread homosexuality in the local population.
They particularly object to UNICEF which they think has “infiltrated” schools with books that “were popularising homosexuality” and accused them of being “promoters of the practice”.
In response, MPs are calling on the government to block press conference that are favorable of lieniency of legalizing homosexuality and to “enact a more comprehensive law that will treat as illegal the promotion of homosexuality and membership to homosexual groups.” If the government in Uganda defines human rights groups as “promoters of homosexuality”, this may be pretext under which criticism of human rights violations can be silenced.
I wonder if American anti-gay groups, including Exodus International, are proud of the part they played.
Uganda to Ban LGBT Advocacy?
April 3rd, 2009
That’s what it looks like according to this Xinhua report:
Nsaba Buturo, minister of state for ethics and integrity, said some nations at the United Nations are advocating “sexual rights” which Uganda believes will be used to promote homosexuality. “Uganda will not be forced to legalize practices that are illegal, unnatural and abnormal,” he told a press briefing.
He said he had communicated the position to Uganda’s representative to the UN. “They have no right to call us names, to call us extremists, we shall talk to countries that we share the same belief on not legalizing homosexuality,” he stated.
Buturo said the government has also started a crackdown on certain humanitarian relief organizations that recruit youths into the vice under the guise of giving them education. The government is making preparations to enact a comprehensive law that will make it a criminal offense to promote homosexuality, said the official.
Meanwhile, the media battle continues. The Ugandan anti-gay extremists claim that Uganda’s LGBT advocacy groups are “sponsored by foreign interests to spoil the morals of children in Uganda” — without a hint of irony. This latest anti-gay campaign was in fact sparked by an appearance on March 3-5 of three American anti-gay activists at a conference in Kampala. Those activists were Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, Exodus board member Don Schmierer, and Richard Cohen protegé Lee Caleb Brundidge.
Exodus Maintains Month-Long Silence Amid Ugandan Gov’t Calls For LGBT Arrests
April 2nd, 2009
Update: Calls for mass arrests on radio continue. For more information, see the end of this post for the latest update.
The situation in Uganda continues to escalate. Late yesterday, Uganda’s New Vision followed up on Stephen Langa’s launch of a public forced “outing” drive against Ugandan LGBT individuals and against rivals who are alleged to be gay. On Monday, Langa sponsored a press conference in which another allegedly “former gay activist” Paul Kagaba accused a very popular Catholic priest and gospel singer, Fr. Anthony Musaala, of being gay.
Musaala is a well-known figure, and the Catholic church is seen as a rival to Stephen Langa’s evangelical organization. New Vision followed up with a statement from Fr. Musaala’s colleagues and from Musalla himself:
Father Francis Ssemuddu, the head of St. Matia Mulumba parish in Old Kampala, said the accusations “were untrue”. Ssemuddu said the church was clear about aberrant sexual practices and how to guide offenders get out of “the abnormal behaviour”.
Musaala, the charismatic preacher and gospel music award winner, was on Tuesday accused by a self-confessed former homosexual of eight years of promoting the illegal practice. Paul Kagaba said the priest had often held parties for the gays at his residence in Gayaza near Kampala.
…Musaala argued that as a church minister, he had given spiritual guidance to homosexuals, lesbians and prostitutes since 1999, but he was not gay himself. “But ethically, I cannot name them,” he said.
Explaining why people take to homosexuality, the dancing priest, as he is sometimes called, blamed the desire for money and “inherent feelings that drive them”. His involvement, he said, was limited to helping the gay abandon the practice some of whom “want to commit suicide”. “I want to show them the true path to salvation,” he said. “This is a journey that requires someone to walk with as a guide.”
“These people are stigmatised and I am totally against this because they need our help,” said Musaala.
Meanwhile, parliament members are outraged that Ugandan authorities permitted Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) to hold a public news conference. In an indication of the risks that are taken whenever anyone identifies themselves as being gay, members of parliament are demanding that those identified at the news conferences be arrested:
Latif Sebaggala (DP) said the Government was tolerant because donors had threatened to cut funding if homosexuals were stopped. “We are worried about our children. If the Government is silent, it means it is silent approval,” he said.
Henry Banyenzaki (NRM) blamed poor enforcement of laws which he said had escalated homosexuality, rape, defilement and child sacrifice. In reply, Daudi Migereko, the Government chief whip, argued that anybody was free to hold a press conference without permission from the Government.
However, he said, by doing so, the gays had exposed themselves and the Government would go after them.”Homosexuality is illegal. The Minister of Ethics, Dr. Nsaba Buturo, has been clear on the matter. Those involved will face the long arm of the law,” he said.
Henry Kajura, the second deputy Prime Minister, said the Government would not compromise on moral and cultural values because of donor pressure.
“The Government will soon show its teeth,” he warned. “Our society abhors homosexuality.”
Uganda’s latest spasm of anti-gay actions is a direct outcome of a three-day conference organized by Family Life Network’s Stephen Langa, featuring three American anti-gay activists, including Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively and Exodus board member Don Schmierer. Leaders of that conference applauded Uganda’s draconian anti-homosexuality laws, which provide a life sentence for those convicted. Conference leaders called for strengthening the law to proved for forcing gays and lesbians into conversion therapy. Schmierer, the supposed “expert” on ex-gay therapies and policies at the conference, remained silent on policy questions, and instead pointedly referred those questions to other speakers at the conference, including Lively.
Exodus released a very tiny three-sentence statement claiming to be against the policy proposals coming out of Uganda, while simultaneously “applauding” Schmierer’s participation in the conference which promulgated those proposals. That statement has not been released publicly, and it does not appear anywhere on Exodus’ web site. There is also no evidence that Exodus is making any attempt to convey any statements to Uganda media.
Grove City college professor Dr. Warren Throckmorton, meanwhile, was able to get an interview into the news outlet Uganda Pulse condemning the conference. This indicates strongly that if Exodus wanted to make a statement to the Ugandan people, there are means with which they could do it. Instead, Exodus continues to do nothing.
Update: The public calls for mass arrests continue in the media:
At 6 p.m., popular radio station KFM played clips from interviews with Dr. James Nsaba Buturo and Member of Parliament, Latif Sabagala. Sabagala said that homosexuality is unacceptable because it interferes with the moral values of Ugandans. He sent out a message to government agencies telling them to hunt down homosexuals and arrest them since they have exposed themselves. Dr. James Nsaba Butuaro said that they would discuss the issue in Parliament and get some action. The 9 o’clock news played another clip of Sabagala, saying that there are no laws protecting gays in Uganda.
…I spoke to Frank Mugisha, the chairperson of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). “The LGBTI-community is still scared,” he said. “After our press release yesterday, the public is confused. They do not know what to believe. Those who are thinking through everything they have heard from the ex-gay activists have begun to realize that this is just an agenda to crush the gay rights movement, and it is full of lies.”
Ugandan Gov’t Poised to Take “Stern Action” Against Gays
March 26th, 2009
This morning’s Uganda Pulse reports this worrying development:
The government has threatened to take stern “action” against promoters of homosexuality and lesbianism in Uganda.
The State Minister for Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo said today that the government is working on stern modalities to fight homosexuality especially in schools.
This follows a petition by parents under the Family Life Network NGO claiming that homosexual promoters are very active in Uganda and are luring students into the practice with cash gifts and promises to needy students from unstable or poor families.
The Executive Director of Family Life Network, Stephen Langa told journalists in Kampala that many children had been psychologically tortured and traumatized by experiences of homosexuality which the group described as unnatural and anti Christian.
Dr. Buturo says the government is going to act swiftly to stop what he calls “moral corruption” of vulnerable Ugandans, especially children into homosexuality.
He says the practice of same sex relationships is illegal in Uganda and unacceptable to the people of Uganda. The minister did not however specify which stern action was to be taken, given that the High Court ruled last year that all Ugandans, including homosexuals and lesbians are accorded the same rights and freedoms by Uganda’s constitution.
The “Ex-Gay” Star of the Uganda Anti-Gay Campaign
March 26th, 2009
I reported yesterday afternoon on the Uganda media circus surrounding the anti-gay activists who held a press conference, where an ex-gay by the name of George Oundo claimed to have spent a lifetime recruiting schoolchildren into homosexuality. The widespread media coverage of that press conference, along with Oundo’s fanciful statements, may well set the stage for yet another orgy of anti-gay violence and public vigilantism.
Timothy Kincaid followed that up with a report on a meeting held in Kampala on March 22, which featured more outlandish claims by George Oundo. That meeting set the stage for yesterday’s press conference.
Who is George Oundo?
I asked around among contacts in Uganda who wish to remain anonymous. The picture that emerges is both strange and disturbing.
George Oundo was known in Uganda’s tight-knit gay community as Georgina, a “flamboyant, no holds barred homosexual activist.” She had spoken at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya in January 2007, and she was known for being very outgoing and confident. But because of her “flamboyance” she drew considerable attention and was arrested by police numerous times.
There are reports that she also had some personal difficulties and, some say, was emotionally unstable. Whether it was because of her arrests, or whether she had problems beforehand, it’s unclear. Given what we know about police brutality and torture of LGBT citizens, the former is certainly plausible. She had a difficult time holding down a job, and was dependent on handouts from friends.
She was arrested again on September 10, 2008 along with Brenda Kiiza outside of Kampala for “recruiting homosexuals” — which is not a crime under Uganda’s criminal code. The Uganda constitution provides that suspects cannot be held for more than 48 hours, but she and Brenda were held for eight days and released only after their lawyer threatened to take the police to court. During their detention, they were reportedly beaten and denied food, and Oundo was denied treatment for her diabetes.
And that’s where the story gets really strange. On September 8, just two days before her arrest,Oundo appeared on the pages of the Uganda tabloid The Red Pepper. In this article, she appears with Kiiza talking about a previous arrest that they had experienced and the trouble they were encountering since then. In the article headlined “Stranded Gay Couple Pondering Suicide,” Ounda complains of being shunned by Ugandan LGBT activists, a charge that was denied by Victor Juliet Mukasa of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG).
What makes this appearance in the Red Pepper strange is that this was the very paper which had earlier been the instigator of previous anti-gay vigilante campaigns. The Red Pepper was notorious for publishing names and identifying details of gay Ugandans, calling on citizens to take action and for the police to round them up. Many gays in Uganda went into hiding or left the country to avoid getting caught up in the violence. Others saw their lives shattered as their identities were splashed across the pages of the Red Pepper. The paper’s reputation as the prime instigator of hatred and violence was firmly established in the gay community, both in Uganda and abroad.
So why did Georgina go to that particular paper to tell her story? It’s not as if the Red Pepper decided to turn over a new leaf in its coverage of LGBT issues. Look at this article from March 5, 2009, just as the anti-gay conference was getting underway:
MPs To Discuss Bum Shafting
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.
Snoops have seen an open invitation to all MPs in which the organizers of the meeting want the legislators to among other things understand the Gay movement’s agenda which is bent on destabilizing society. The MPs will also have to understand in detail the Gay blueprint for transforming this nation and also how Uganda can respond to the bumshafters’ secret agenda.
“This is an executive sensitization meeting themed ‘Exposing the truth about bum shafting and the homosexual agenda” part of an invitation seen by RP reads. Recently, State Minister for ethics and integrity Nsaba Buturo informed MPs at Imperial Royale hotel that a group of bum shafting leaning donor countries had approached him seeking for his nod to start funding and campaigning for bum shafting in Uganda, but he refused.
This vice of homosexuality has been reported in several institutions including churches, schools and high institutions of learning.
We don’t know why she chose to be interviewed and photographed by the Red Pepper, despite its well-earned enmity in the gay community. Did she finally break under repeated police torture and mistreatment? Or were other factors also in play? There are rumors — some pretty wild ones of jealousies, betrayals, recriminations and more — which need confirmation before we can repeat them. And that confirmation will undoubtedly be difficult to obtain, if not impossible. But it does appear that whatever Georgina’s motivations may have been, her appearance in the hated Red Pepper gave the the gay community reasons to became suspicious of her, and she became seen as being too dangerous for the besieged gay community.
And now, barely five months later, those suspicions are confirmed in the minds of many who knew her or knew of her. Georgina — now George — is a confirmed danger to the community. Oundo knows many people in Uganda’s gay community — who they are, where they live and where they work. This newest development threatens to inflame an already tense situation in a country that has witnessed repeated campaigns of public vigilante acts and widespread extrajudicial detentions, beatings and torture of LGBT people.
Oundo is back in the spotlight again, completing a journey that began on the pages of the Red Pepper last October. And his statements to the media are particularly inflammatory, claiming that he had been trained and paid by foreign gay activists to recruit Ugandan schoolchildren into homosexuality. With statements like that receiving wide media attention, the ground is now well laid for a fresh round of violence against Uganda’s beleaguered gay community.
And all of this began when three Americans — Exodus board president Don Schmierer, Holocaust revisionist Scott Lively, and Richard Cohen Protege Caleb Lee Brundidge — spoke at a conference in Kampala in early March and endorsed proposals to strengthen Uganda’s criminal code which bans homosexual acts with a lifetime sentence, with the penalty of compelling gays and lesbians into forced therapy.
Exodus Board Member Participates In Uganda Conference Calling For Forcing Gays Into Conversion Therapy
March 6th, 2009
Nazi Revisionist Scott Lively has talked Ugandan anti-gay activist Stephen Langa and a Ugandan parliamentarian into proposing a law forcing people convicted of homosexuality into ex-gay therapy:
The Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Dr. James Nsaba Buturo has today told a conference organized to discuss the ways to fight Homosexuality that he will soon submit a bill on pornography and homosexuality for discussion in Parliament. …
Buturo says the government will not only end at making laws against homosexuality but will also engage in sensitizing schools and churches in the fight against this vice.
The President of Defend the Family International, Scott Lively says it is good for the government of Uganda to criminalize homosexuality but the government should subject the criminals of homosexuality to a therapy rather than imprisoning them.
Lively says this is aimed at the criminals recovering from homosexuality which is the main objective of those fighting homosexuality and not to punish homosexuals through imprisonment. He says even schools should borrow this idea of therapy in dealing with gay students.
Exodus International boasts that it is “the largest Christian referral and information network dealing with homosexual issues in the world.” As Exodus Internationals board member, Don Scmhmierer, who is speaking at that conference, carries the most credibility — such as it is — of the three to speak out on ex-gay issues. He is certainly the only one who can credibly speak to ex-gay policy, and specifically the policy of Exodus International. He spoke yesterday at the conference, but so far reports show him as silent on this proposal.
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.
And Exodus International also has the moral imperative to publicly face its own responsibilities in participating in a conference with those who excuse violence against gay people, and who actively promote a style of “therapy” which Exodus at one time had publicly condemned. It was just one year ago in which Exodus appeared to signal an intention to move to a more responsible position in its policies. Exodus’ official policy is to denounce the “extremes” of those “who respond to homosexuals with ignorance and fear.”
If there is any meaning whatsoever behind Exodus’s words, then Exodus International’s leadership and board have no choice but to clarify its positions on the legal aspects of homosexuality and forced conversions, especially now that a recognized Exodus board member is actively participating in a conference which has publicly advocated such draconian measures. Exodus must now, both here and in Uganda, forcefully, loudly, unequivocally and unambiguously condemn this proposal.
It is time for Exodus President Alan Chambers and board chairman Bob Ragan exercise leadership by acting boldly and swiftly. Anything less will be seen as silent assent, carrying the board’s stamp of approval.
Update: Warren Throckmorton calls 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 warns. David Roberts at Ex-Gay Watch warns that Exodus has 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.”