According to a report in tomorrow’s issue of the UK’s Guardian, Ugandan member of parliament David Behati has presented his “kill gays” bill and vows that it will not be watered down. In addition to the death penalty or a life sentence for some cases, the bill provides for the imprisonment of people who don’t turn in someone they know to be gay.
The Ugandan bill extends existing laws to make it illegal to promote homosexuality by talking or writing about it, and forcing people to tell the authorities about anyone they know who is gay. The bill, said Bahati, 35, an MP from the ruling party, aims to “protect the cherished culture of the people of Uganda against the attempts of sexual rights activists seeking to impose their values of sex promiscuity on the people of Uganda”. He denied reports that international pressure might result in parts of the bill being toned down. “We are not going to yield to any international pressure – we cannot allow people to play with the future of our children and put aid into the game. We are not in the trade of values. We need mutual respect.”
The Guardian goes on to point out that despite Bahati’s claim that Uganda is immune to outside pressure, it was in fact outsiders from America’s evangelical world that spawned the bill in the first place.
In March, Bahati met several prominent anti-gay US Christian activists who attended a conference in Uganda where they pledged to “wipe out” homosexuality. The conference featured Scott Lively, president of California’s anti-gay Abiding Truth Ministries and co-author of The Pink Swastika, a book claiming that leading Nazis were gay. Also there was Don Schmierer, on the board of Exodus International, which promotes the “ex-gay” movement, believing people can change their sexuality and be redeemed. The third extremist evangelical to attend was Caleb Lee Brundidge, who is linked to Richard Cohen who believes that psychotherapy can “cure” homosexuality. Bahati’s bill was drawn up within weeks of the conference.
Another American evangelical deeply involved in Uganda is Rick Warren, who yesterday released a videotaped message denouncing the submitted bill, something he only did after weeks of criticism over his silence. Bahati is disappointed with Warren, saying, “It’s unfortunate that a man of God who has inspired many people across the world can give in to pressure and disappoint them.”