Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill has been quietly languishing in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee after its introduction in October 2009 caused international outrage.
Now, with the eighth Parliament in its lame duck session, sponsor David Bahati appears to be working to move the bill from committee, and finally into law, as early as next week. Stephen Tashobya, Chairman of the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee told NTV:
“The Anti-Homosexuality Bill has generated a lot of debate and interest in our population, both for and against. And we are sensitive about that interest.
“So we shall put out public notices for all types of people, for even foreigners, let’s have a [unintelligible] to come and appear before the committee and have this matter resolved once and for all.”
Even the former ethics minister James Nsaba Buturo made a plea to the public to lobby parliament to take up the bill, saying “I ask you to put pressure on parliament to debate, amend the Anti-Homosexuality bill as necessary and pass a law.”
Amendments may be crucial to the bill’s survival. As it stands now, Box Turtle Bulletin’s Jim Burroway points out:
the provisions barring ‘promoting homosexuality’ would potentially punish even lawyers who defend LGBT people in court. Uganda’s legal fraternity is expected to point out that the proposed law would be completely unfair. To them.
With the world’s eyes turned upon Japan as it recovers from its natural disasters – and works to prevent an all-out nuclear disaster – the Ugandan Parliament may finally succeed in passing this draconian measure without much international notice. Many on the religious right are quick to blame human immorality for bringing on natural disasters. If this bill – supported and shepherded into being by American evangelicals – manages to pass it will be the immorality and inhumanity of these legislators that will bring this unnatural disaster on anyone accused of being gay or lesbian in Uganda.