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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 16, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 46
'Kill the Gays' bill revived in Uganda
Section One
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'Kill the Gays' bill revived in Uganda

Controversial law will pass by December 31, officials say

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Uganda's parliament will pass the infamous 'Kill the Gays' bill by the end of this year, a top official vowed on November 12.

Parliamentary Speaker Rebecca Kadaga told the Associated Press that Ugandans 'are demanding' passage of the measure, formally titled the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. On November 9, the speaker promised a meeting of anti-Gay activists that the bill, first introduced in 2009, will pass this year.

Some Christian clergy at the meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, asked the speaker to pass the law as 'a Christmas gift.'

'Speaker, we cannot sit back while such a destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation,' the anti-Gay group said in a petition. 'We therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring this matter to your attention as the leader of Parliament ... so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation.'

'Who are we not to do what they have told us? These people should not be begging us,' Kadaga said after her meeting with the anti-Gay group.

DEATH PENALTY REMOVED?
Previous reports on the status of the bill indicated that the death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality' had been removed from the legislation, but that has not been confirmed.

The U.S. State Department reiterated its call for the Ugandan government to protect LGBT residents, but declined to say whether the anti-Gay bill still contains the death penalty.

'The United States government supports the human rights of LGBT individuals around the world and joins the Ugandan government's own Human Rights Commission in calling on the Ugandan government to respect the rights of LGBT individuals,' State Department spokesperson Nicole Thompson said in response to an inquiry from SGN.

'We call upon the Ugandan government to defend the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all Ugandan citizens.

'I refer you to the Government of Uganda for confirmation or information related to Ugandan legislative issues,' Thompson added.

SOME SEE SILVER LINING
Gay rights activists in Uganda said the bill, while dangerous, helped publicize their fight for equality by putting what used to be a taboo subject on the national agenda.

Nonetheless, Pepe Julian Onziema, a Ugandan Gay activist, told AP that the new push to pass the law was frustrating.

'It's disappointing, but we are also going to seek a meeting with the speaker,' Onziema said. He added that he thought it unlikely that Kadaga would agree to meet with him.

President Obama has described the proposed law as 'odious,' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned it, and several European countries have threatened to cut aid to Uganda if the bill becomes law.

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