Uganda’s infamous “kill gays” bill is about to pass in the country’s parliament, but it is expected that the “gay death sentence” portion will be changed to life imprisonment.
The draft Anti-Homosexuality Bill is part of a growing campaign against homosexuals in Uganda, rights groups say. Critics say the aim is to divert attention from corruption and other political issues ahead of the 2011 national vote. But the bill’s author, lawmaker David Bahati, says the legislation is about promoting family values. “Homosexuality is not part of the human rights we believe in,” he said. Activists and political observers expect the private members’ bill, which proscribes the death penalty for “serial offenders” and is still in the committee stage, to pass with little opposition and some minor changes. Likely changes may include modifying the death penalty to life imprisonment, altering clauses nullifying international treaties, conventions and protocols that contradict the act, and removing a section about extradition. “It’s catastrophic,” said Frank Mugisha, chairman of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG), a local activist group. People are being arrested, intimidated already. What’s going to happen if it’s passed?”
The “kill gays” bill was created with the aid of major U.S. GOP and evangelical leaders. It has been met with near universal global condemnation, including threats by some nations to suspend financial aid to Uganda. Yesterday Sweden announced that they would cut aid if the bill passed.