Uganda passes law mandating life imprisonment for gays

The Ugandan legislature has passed legislation making “aggravated homosexuality” a crime punishable by life in prison.  The new law will also require straight Ugandans to report “homosexual activities” to the police.

An earlier version of the bill called for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality,” so this is actually considered the “nice” version.  The bill awaits the signature of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

“Aggravated homosexuality,” requiring life imprisonment, includes having “gay sex” with someone who is HIV positive or someone who has a disability (apparently, the Ugandan legislature thinks this somehow “helps” people with  disabilities).  It’s also aggravated homosexuality, and life in prison, if you’re caught having “gay sex” more than once.

Anti-gay Ugandan leaders David Bahati and Martin Ssempa.

Anti-gay Ugandan leaders David Bahati (l), who was pushing for the death penalty for gays, and the always-fey Martin Ssempa (r), who likely considers “aggravated homosexuality” to be when he can’t get his Grindr app to work.

President Museveni is the brainiac who suggested a while back to Christiane Amanpour that Uganda didn’t have any gays until those pesky westerners showed up – this is a common racist lie embraced by many bigots in Africa:

Before we came in touch with the Europeans, we had some few homosexuals…. Africans are by nature discreet people… We never exhibit our sexual acts in public.  I have for instance never kissed my wife in public… The problem is exhibitionism… The second problem is trying to lure young children into homosexuality… Nobody has been killed in Uganda for being gay.”

I’d written before about the consequences for Uganda, should this legislation pass.  Uganda already was facing cutback in aid from a number of donors, over the country’s increasingly virulent homophobia.  Now that the legislation has passed the legislature, donor nations, including the US, need to let Uganda know that if it wants to remain a backwater while the rest of the world enters the 21s century, then so be it.   If Uganda thinks they’re better than the West, then let develop on their own and see how well they do.

About a year ago, US ambassador to Uganda Scott DeLisi reassured the Ugandans that the US wouldnt’ cut off foreign aid over the country’s rampant corruption.  I wonder how DeLisi feels about aid now?

The Republican party has long had ties to Uganda’s anti-gay extremists.  The ties include the creepy GOP organization called “The Family,” and GOP House Speaker John Boehner recently hosting a meeting of religious right anti-gay activists so that the US could “learn” from Uganda’s and Russia’s “best practices” for handling their gay “problem.”

42% of the Ugandan population is Catholic. Considering that much of this problem emanates from colonial Christianity that was imposed on Africa by the Catholic church and the Anglicans, perhaps now would be a good time for Pope Francis to weigh in and show the world that his newfound love for all man, regardless of sexual orientation, actually means something in practice.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

Share This Post

  • cantake8

    Cut off aid and bring GLBT Ugandans to the U.S. as political refugees.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Sorry little down arrow. Do the research.

  • mirror

    Our tax dollars are being spent to imprison gay people for being gay. Not acceptable in any form or any amount.

  • Carlo

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  • davidinchelseama

    Completely fucking insane. Let me see…my tax dollars are going to a country that imprisons people of my sexual orientation. What if they were imprisoning a particular ethnic group for life? What then? Of course, for that matter, full-on genocide occurs on this planet, and people turn their heads.

  • Bill_Perdue

    The criminals are the English royals and aristocrats.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Agreed, except that humanitarian aid for specific projects distributed by NGOs is most often on target.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Westerners imported homosexuality into Africa” and Africa exported AIDS.

  • mamazboy

    Excellent ideas, Bill. Except that “humanitarian aid” almost surely goes into the pockets of the elite who are behind this shit. Time to get very tough on the Christian creeps you mention, and anybody else who’s fomenting genocide against gay people in these backwater shitholes.

  • mamazboy

    Fuck these monsters. Cut off all aid and ostracize the hell out of them.

  • pauljgo

    I assume that this “legislature” is elected by the populace. That being the case, I say cut them off.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    Giving money to Uganda is completely illogical, and needs to stop yesterday.

    Foreign aid is supposed to be a humanitarian gesture for humanitarian purposes. Repeatedly giving aid money to corrupt, human-rights violating regimes is defeating the purpose of this humanitarian gesture. (Of course the U.S. has a history of sending aid to corrupt regimes, this needs to end.)

    I am in favor of a massive campaign to cut off all aid to Uganda. After a few years of this, they may not be so willing to ask Scott Lively to stop on by and help them persecute the gays.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    I wonder if other computers work, or is it just the macbook air. Will an HP work? How about a Dell?

    And I don’t like Silver Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Coupes. Are they available in other colors? I won’t go for this if I can’t use an HP computer and can’t get something other than a Silver Mercedes.

  • http://www.newmillgay.com/ The_Fixer

    The problem is that we’ve been feeding them a steady diet of carrots for quite some time, and here are the results:

    1) Widespread corruption
    2) Widespread human rights violations
    3) Codified inequality

    No more carrots. Let them make their own salad.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    So now Uganda thinks it can afford to imprison for silly crimes? Where’s the money for this nonsense? Cut off their aid, let them tax their own people! Didn’t they learn from our “noble experiment” called Prohibition? Perhaps they want to imitate us and waste money on a War on Drugs as well?

  • WesternIowan

    You’re expecting an historically genocidal region not to be committing genocide again? You want results – you put on trial the Ugandan officials in abstentia for the crime of genocide against LGBTA people. Then punish them accordingly. What did we pay all those dollars for drones for if not to remove government offcials who terrorize their own people by violating the human rights of their own people? There are billions of LGBTA people on Earth after all. Why should any official get away with violating the human rights of LGBTA people?

  • BillFromDover

    Yo ALEC,

    Perhaps you could start in Louisiana?

  • Butch1

    Their missionaries helped set the present climate for this law. Perhaps they should move there and enjoy the fruits of their labor and just stay there and we’ll take the gays in their place.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Attempts to impose draconian laws meant to punish or murder our LGBT brothers and sisters are the result of unpunished and clearly criminal activity by scum like Scott Lively, Pat Robertson and Obama BBFs Rick Warren and Donnie McClurkin who along with roman catholic, anglo catholic and islamist cultists who’ve propagated hatred and called for violence against us for decades in Africa.

    The Bushes, the Clintons and now Obama won’t even consider prosecuting them under the Logan Act and anti-terrorist laws?

    We should demand that Obama and Kerry offer open ended asylum to endangered LGBT victims of American, European and islamist cultist interference in the internal affairs of African nations. And we should demand that all military and police aid to anti-LGBT governments be ended but we should not insist that humanitarian aid be cut.

    Military and police aid props up right wing and dictatorial governments with neo-colonial relations with the US and England It’s used to imprison and murder their opponents and the opponents of US neo-colonialism. Humanitarian aid does not and should be continued.

  • pappyvet

    With a little help from the good boys on K street , Uganda has become the kind of place wingnuts love.

  • Tor

    That’s why Australians have more fun. Our Puritan heritage really sucks.

  • Tor

    A simple trade of our wingers for their gays.

  • margaretpoa

    Maybe the difference between George Takei and Ru Paul…

  • margaretpoa

    Perhaps it’s time to deport all of the anti gay right wingers to Uganda. They can carve out their own Randian paradise, free from government regulation, (unless you’re gay, of course), free from taxes, safe food, clean water, reliable electricity, useful infrastructure, etc. They can call it “Museveni’s Gulch”.

  • Anonymous

    Can’t forget the right wingers here who helped this happen. No better than them.

  • Butch1

    Perhaps it time we cut off aid to Uganda. These kind of laws need to be stricken from their books and the best way of getting them to do that is by cutting off the flow of money to them. That should awaken them and perhaps get their attention.

  • Whitewitch

    Many did Ste84, but my Great, great, great something was a horse thief that was given the choice to hang to get on a boat for the colonies (indentured type servitude). Guess which one he choose! That is why I am here today….taking all the horses I can find.

  • Stev84

    The criminals went to Australia :)

  • Sathya

    I was hoping more for a rebuttal against the argument of “Westerners imported homosexuality into Africa” – arguing that Westerners imported homophobia is really a separate, but related subject.

  • Ninong

    The African Catholic hierarchy has been “intolerant” of gays for a very long time. That’s why it was shocking that a couple of their cardinals were even considered to be in contention going into the last conclave that elected the current pope.

    Francis Cardinal Arinze of Nigeria is another flaming hypocrite who constantly rants against what he calls “Unspeakable Behavior.” He even taught a class at Georgetown on religion, during which he constantly preached against “homosexuality” and “unspeakable behavior.” During one of his speeches, several other Georgetown faculty members walked out in protest.

    http://www.staycatholic.com/georgetown_faculty_offended_by_cardinal's_speech.htm

  • Indigo

    As to that, present pope overlooked, my experience of Romanism is they’re hateful toward gays. But maybe that was directed to me personally.

  • Ninong

    Real? Hmmm… I don’t know if it’s real or not but it’s definitely intolerant of gays.

  • Indigo

    So African Catholicism is “real” Catholicism? How amusing. And how fascinatingly self-destructive.

  • Whitewitch

    True – personally I think that is part of what is at issue in this country. Imagine a country founded by criminals, outcasts and Religious Zealots fleeing their native country (either forcibly or by choice) – Voila! America….land of the Zealot/Criminal

  • Ninong

    Some countries in Africa are even more Catholic than that; however, the attitude of the Catholic hierarchy in Africa can only be described as intolerant, and that’s putting it mildly. As Robert Cardinal Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, puts it, you cannot impose this “European mentality” on Africa! He was responding to a speech by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling on African nations to repeal criminal laws that place sanctions on homosexual conduct and to stop discrimination against people based on sexual orientation.

    Cardinal Sarah forcefully rejected the UN’s call to decriminalize homosexuality and called on his American colleagues in the College of Cardinals to support him in his efforts to defeat any such proposals. Remember, Cardinal Sarah is from Guinea but he’s based in the Vatican in Rome!

    Something tells me it’s time to out certain African cardinals, especially the one known by his nickname of “Naomi.” Talk about flaming hypocrites! The whole of the Catholic African clergy is a corrupt bunch of hypocrites — the ones who live openly with women, the ones who sexually molest nuns and the ones whose interest is in the other direction. The Vatican tolerates the African priests because Africa is one of the few places where they are gaining “membership.” Most European countries that are nominally Catholic are Catholic in name only. They’re culturally Catholic but they only go to church for baptisms, weddings and funerals.

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/cardinals-responds-to-u.n.s-criticism-of-africas-social-policies

  • MichaelS

    Agreed – that was my first thought, let’s see Pope Francis put his mouth where his money is…

  • ArthurH

    Depends on the religion of the other 58%. If I remember, for years Uganda was ruled by the vicious dictator Idi Amin, who was Islamic. When he was deposed, he was given asylum in Saudi Arabia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/smitty.pa.795 Smitty PA

    First, President Obama should offer political asylum to all Ugandan homosexuals. Second, someone independent of government with the means should drop copies of I-589 (our application for asylum) in the native language over every village in the damn country. Send in the Red Cross or UN to pick people up. Put our money where our mouth is, literally.

  • Indigo

    Public prudery. Privately, depending on the depth of the pocket book, anything was fair game. That apparently remains true here in the States.

  • Indigo

    Yes, exactly. Let the homophobic Russians bankroll them.

  • Stev84

    Though with American it predates the Victorian era and goes right back to the Puritans.

  • Indigo

    Huh! 42% Catholic? Apparently the new pope’s kindly attitude doesn’t reach very far past the Huffington Post headlines.

  • 2patricius2

    I think it is time to give an ultimatum. Ditch the law, or forget foreign aid from the US.

  • Stev84

    Maybe somebody who is totally flaming and obvious about it.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I know.

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/smitty.pa.795 Smitty PA

    I think the difference is between thinking and doing with regard to homosexual acts.

  • Whitewitch

    Really wow that is great…now if only I had a macbook air…will you buy me one?

  • http://liberawheeler.blogspot.com/ Elijah Jacob Shalis

    I disagree with cutting off funding, it will only hurt the gays more there. We need to offer more money in exchange for this law being vetoed or repealed. Use a carrot.

  • Whitewitch

    Not actually homophobia…but Sexphobia (is that a real word). Part of the problem with America is the Victorian attitude toward sex….

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s the difference between flaming and a low back burner.

  • Ninong

    They define “aggravated homosexuality” as a homosexual act with a disabled person, with someone who is HIV+ or repeated homosexual acts — all qualify for life in prison in Uganda.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’ll come at this at an oblique angle: Try Googling ‘British Empire.’ Then look at the various maps. You’ll see some rather familiar names.

    In the late 1800s, Queen Victoria was keen on imposing a uniform system of law throughout the Empire and its many colonies. Victorian era prudery was infamous, and many of the places where the British imposed their new rules didn’t have a concept of ‘homosexuality’ because, for many of them, it never occurred to them to attempt to regulate human sexual behavior in any way.

    It wasn’t homosexuality that was imported to Africa (and the rest of the former British Empire), but homophobia.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Back in the 1930s, there was no shortage of Americans who thought Germany had the right idea for dealing with its ‘undesirables.’

    Some things never change — and sympathy by reactionaries for violent bigotry is one of them.

  • Sathya

    I’ve been googling around, but apparently my search-fu is failing me.

    Can
    anyone find me a strong, logical rebuttal (the longer the better) to
    the talking point that homosexuality is a “western thing” that Africa
    didn’t have until Westerns “imported” it? I’m not looking for stuff
    about how the US has imported homophobia into Africa, I think that’s
    pretty well established, but I feel unarmed against this particular
    talking point. I’ve found several good rebuttal pages for various
    anti-gay talking points, but nothing for this particular one (probably
    because most of these pages are written for Americans talking to other
    Americans about current American legal/political issues).

    Thanks in advance!

  • bertinanth764

    my Aunty Kaylee recently
    got silver Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Coupe by working from a macbook air… he
    said B­i­g­2­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • jomicur

    If it was a law against “aggravating homosexuals” I’d assume they were targeting Johnny Weir. Something tells me that’s not what they have in mind. :)

  • frogview

    Let Russia support Them! No more money, no more drugs , no more technology! Let them be comrades.

  • Monoceros Forth

    I’ve been curious myself about what the distinction is between “aggravated homosexuality” and the lesser sort. Is it like the difference between getting to 3rd base and scoring a home run, so to speak?

  • Jim Olson

    Most of the money we send overseas should end.

  • Monoceros Forth

    Apropos of absolutely nothing, it always bugs me to see Tony Perkins’s name in connection with these stories. There’s only one Tony Perkins so far as I’m concerned, a fine American actor. (And queer.)

    Oh, and you can bet that our right-wing Bible-bashers would love to execute themselves some gays. Maybe having them stripped naked and tied to a post like St. Sebastian. Somehow I think a lot of the godly folk would enjoy watching that.

  • FLL

    No U.S. aid at all would be the best option. If the administration wants a second option, they could restrict aid to AIDS-prevention programs in Uganda that rely on proven methods of prevention rather than religious indoctrination about abstinence. The very best suggestion you’ve offered, John, is for Pope Francis to put his money where his mouth and actually lead his Catholic flock in Uganda, especially in light of the Pope’s recent statements about tolerance. It would also be fitting to hear from the Archbishop of Canterbury since the other half of Uganda is Anglican.

  • Hue-Man

    2013 news: “While [Scott] Lively’s name may not be familiar to the majority of Americans, he is known to those fighting for LGBT rights in Uganda. According to the New York Times,
    the [Crimes Against Humanity] suit against Lively alleges that he “conspired with religious and
    political leaders in Uganda to whip up anti-gay hysteria with warnings
    that gay people would sodomize African children and corrupt their
    culture.” Vince Warren, executive director of the CCR, argues in a
    Washington Post blog that Lively calls himself the “‘father’ of the anti-gay movements” in Uganda.”http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/scott-lively-kill-the-gays-bill-supporter-on-trial-crimes-against-humanity_n_2425003.html

    The legislation was referred to as the “Kill the Gays Bill” – depressing news.

  • Ninong

    “Aggravated homosexuality” includes being caught more than once. Don’t forget, the new Ugandan law imposes a penalty of up to seven years in prison for ANYONE (including family members) who does not report a practicing homosexual to the police within 24 hours!

  • jomicur

    “Aggravated homosexuality”? Why don’t they just call it “gay propaganda” and be done?

  • Ninong

    Any minute now Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz will tell us that, while a little harsh, it should be up to individual countries to decide for themselves how to deal with their “homosexual problem.”

  • Ninong

    We should not only cut off all aid to Uganda and Nigeria, we should impose a complete travel ban. The bigotry and hatred of these despicable people should not pass unpunished!

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    That money should end. Today. Ssempa and Bahati should be placed on the extremist ‘do not enter’ list for the USA.

  • Ninja0980

    This law should be brought up every time Tony Perkins or others are on television so we can get their thoughts on it.
    Because at some point,they will end up admitting that yes,they want the same kind of laws passed here,thus ending the farce once and for all that they are simply opposed to gay marriage.
    They want us jailed,they want us killed,period.

  • nicho

    Mankind will only be free when the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.

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