Hate and Homophobia Move Forward in Uganda


Huffington Post reports – KAMPALA, Uganda — A Ugandan lawmaker on Friday refused to withdraw proposed legislation that would impose the death penalty for some gays and lesbians despite international condemnation and presidential opposition to a measure that could scare off foreign investors.


Lawmaker David Bahati said he will not heed a call late Thursday from the government to drop the proposed bill, as he feels such a measure is necessary in the conservative East African country.


On Thursday, Minister of State for Investment Aston Kajara said the government would ask Bahati to scrap the bill because they fear backlash from foreign investors. The bill, which Bahati proposed in September, has provoked criticism from gay-rights groups and protests in London, New York and Washington.


I stand by the bill,” Bahati said. “I will not withdraw it. We have our children in schools to protect against being recruited into (homosexuality). The process of legislating a law to protect our children against homosexuality and defending our family values must go on.”


That leaves the decision to the country’s parliament, which will discuss the legislation in late February or early March.


Although President Yoweri Museveni has told colleagues he believes the bill is too harsh and has encouraged his ruling National Resistance Movement Party to overturn the death sentence provision, Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko said the parliament will act independently of the presidency.


Earlier this week, several lawmakers and officials from the ruling party said they will push to remove the death penalty statute, and have proposed instead that gays receive counseling to convert them to heterosexuality.