Uganda Proposes New Legislation to Ban Homosexuality

Ten years after Uganda proposed the death penalty for homosexual acts, the East African nation is seeking to pass new legislation to criminalize homosexuality further, endangering the lives of the country’s LGBTQIA+ community members.

Introduced by Member of Parliament Asuman Basalirwa, the country’s new “Anti-Homosexuality Bill” would sentence anyone accused of “lesbianism, gay, transgender, queer or any other sexual or gender identity contrary to the binary categories of male and female” to ten years in prison.

The bill would also punish anyone guilty of “promoting homosexuality” with five years of jail time, a $27,000 fine, or both. The bill’s definition of “promoting” is expansive. It includes mentioning LGBTQIA+ topics online or supporting an LGBTQIA+ fundraising or cause.

One media outlet also reported that the bill would punish anyone who provides shelter to LGBTQIA+ members, “a brothel,” or any place where any LGBTQIA+ related activities take place to seven years imprisonment.

Under the proposal, anyone allowing a known LGBTQIA+ member into their home could be imprisoned. It could also mean businesses hosting LGBTQIA+ activities or same-sex marriages could revoke their licenses, and their managers be detained for two years.

Most lawmakers in Uganda’s Parliament, dominated by the National Resistance Movement (NRM), supported the proposal. The legislative body’s speaker, Anita Among, also supports the bill.

You are either with us, or you’re with the Western world,” Among declared after announcing the legislation. “We should be counted, and we are going to vote by show of hands on this matter.

She also posted on Twitter, saying they “shall Jealously protect our cherished values and culture.” Audio obtained by the Agence France-Presse revealed that she held forth on the legislation the day before it was announced to the Parliament.

Tomorrow, we are going to bring a bill for anti-homosexuality,” Among said in the audio. “We want to appreciate our promoters of homosexuality for the socio-economic development they have brought to the country… but we do not appreciate the morals they are killing.

The bill’s author, Basalirwa, described homosexuality as a “cancer” in Uganda. Fueled in part by the decision of the Anglican Church in the UK to bless same-sex couples, anti-LGBTQIA+ sentiment is rising in the Christian-majority African nation.

In this country, or this world, we talk about human rights,” Basalirwa said while introducing his proposal.But it is also true that there are human wrongs. I want to submit… that homosexuality is a human wrong.

Frank Mugisha, executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, told AFP that the country’s LGBTQIA+ community is “living in fear.

A new law would mean more harassment and discrimination against people who are already vulnerable,” Mugisha said.

Homosexual acts are already illegal in Uganda under the country’s colonial-era penal codes, which were introduced while the country was a protectorate of the British Empire. It is also among Africa’s 30 countries where homosexuality is criminalized.

Uganda passed the Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2013 ten years ago, which would have imposed a death penalty sentence for homosexual acts before it was removed for final passage. The law was rendered invalid by the country’s Constitutional Court.

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