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.
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.