News / Africa

Uganda Moves Forward on Anti-Gay Bill

People protest against Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality bill in New York on Nov 19, 2009.
People protest against Uganda's proposed anti-homosexuality bill in New York on Nov 19, 2009.
Andrew Green
Uganda’s speaker of parliament has promised a controversial anti-homosexuality bill will pass by the end of the year. A new coalition led by the former state minister for ethics says the country is prepared to deal with any international fallout.

The Coalition for Advancement of Moral Values does not officially launch until next week. But last Friday, the group of religious and civil society leaders organized a meeting with more than one-third of Uganda’s members of parliament. There they pushed for the reintroduction of a bill that would broaden rationalization of homosexuality.

Before the meeting ended, Rebecca Kadaga, the speaker of parliament, promised the bill would pass before the end of the year. James Nsaba Buturo, the former ethics minister and a coalition leader, says the measure’s widespread popularity will speed its approval.

“I can tell you it has 99 percent chance. It will pass. No question about it," Buturo said. "If there was any leader in this country who sympathizes with homosexuality, he will not say it in public. Because he knows that Ugandans, by and large, do not support that way of life.”

The bill was originally introduced in 2009. The initial version included the death penalty for some actions, like engaging in sexual activity with people under 18. Buturo says the death penalty language has now been stripped from the legislation and replaced with shorter prison sentences.

But the proposal has still drawn widespread international criticism. U.S. President Barack Obama calls it “odious” and some international donors threaten to cut off aid if the bill is signed into law.

Buturo says outsiders who criticize the bill are engaging in a “culture war” with Uganda. He says the bill’s re-introduction after being shelved by the last parliament shows his country will not be deterred by threats of aid cuts.

“We are saying to the world and to those who are supporting this way of life of theirs, ‘Come what may.’ They have no right whatsoever to impose their preference on this nation," he insists.

Clare Byarugaba, the co-coordinator of the Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law says gay rights activists are pessimistic.

“The time that we have from now until Christmas, is a very short time for a bill to be tabled and then debated and then passed," Byarugaba says. "But, of course, there’s fear that it can actually happen.”

Because the bill’s proponents are framing the debate as a culture war between Ugandan and Western cultures, Byarugaba says her coalition is looking to activate local human rights groups to speak out in opposition.

“We call upon the international community not to speak out in the media about these issues. Whatever actions that are going to be done, should be done diplomatically, with the relevant stakeholders of this country," she says. "And, let the Ugandan community and the Ugandan human rights organizations and allies to do the groundwork.”

They are also preparing to raise constitutional challenges to the bill, if it does pass.

Parliament’s Legal and Parliament Affairs Committee is considering the bill before it can be tabled in front of the whole house.

You May Like

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Maria from: Uganda
December 07, 2012 7:44 AM
For all the gay activists in America and the entire world your criticizing of the bill is just making it porpular in my country where it was never going to be passed in the first place it had been dismissed but this business of you people showing off how you are helping us greatly with your aid which in actual sense is enjoyed by top government officials is making Ugandans angry because you think we can't survive without your help and most importantly it is being viewed in my country as imposing western culture on our African culture and because of this that bill may pass just to show you people that we can never be intimidated by your funny threats. So you may think your helping but actually your not if you had ignored this whole thing deep down i know it would never have coz it was harsh in the first place but now it has been revised and the death penalty removed and i do believe the speaker is also in support because the Canadian prime minister tried to threaten her. But now it's too late and there is nothing that can be done. FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY.


by: Nicole H from: usa
November 17, 2012 8:34 AM
Stop foreign aid to this country until they show some objective measures of improvement in human rights. The ignorance and hate will abruptly stop when the foreign money stops.
The people who quote Leviticus to support this bigoted and hateful barabric view are absolutely ignorant with a 3rd grade knowledge of basic theology. Funny how they ignore the other laws about stoning a disobedient child or someone who works on the Sabbath. Or planting two different crops in the same field as an abomination just as eating shrimp or lobster...lol.
Rather than trying to understand the Bible as a book written in a patriarchal culture with minimal scientific understanding of the world, they choose to select passages to interpret literally to affirm their prejudice. It is anything but Christ like.

In Response

by: Maria from: Uganda
December 07, 2012 7:29 AM
and you think cutting off foreign aid is going to achieve what exactly you people forget we are mainly an agricultural country so people can not really starve because they actually grow their own food plus in case you did not know the money that is sent as aid is used by top government officials to satisfy their own selfish needs so basically that money has not been put proper use anyway so nothing will change I pray with all my heart that bill is passed just to show all of you people that we can actually survive without your so called help.


by: John from: California
November 16, 2012 5:12 PM
I will support economic sanctions. If Uganda wants to do without our values, they can also do without our money, medicines, products...we do not support Barbarians


by: ljrich from: US
November 16, 2012 3:19 PM
Africa will forever be considered a 3rd world country if it cannot move past its violent history.


by: sweetza Richard from: Kampala
November 16, 2012 11:03 AM
Uganda is a funny country with brain-washed 'believers in the Bible' How can we again be slaves to something else? Are we not slaves of religion? Why should u kill innocent people in the name of religion?

In Response

by: Marty from: Sulphur, Oklahoma
November 16, 2012 7:55 PM
The country of Uganda probably based their law on Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13, and GOD will bless them for it because they stand for Biblical truth.


by: Marty Butler from: Sulphur, OK
November 14, 2012 12:13 PM
GOD will richly bless Uganda for their Biblical stance on this abominable sin.

In Response

by: Marty from: Sulphur, Oklahoma
November 16, 2012 7:50 PM
You are not to sleep with a man as with a woman; it is detestable. Leviticus 18:22 HCSB
If a man sleeps with a man as with a woman, they have both committed a detestable thing. They must be put to death; their blood is on their own hands. Leviticus 20:13 That is Uganda's law is based out of, the Roman empire violated this Bibliical principles, and they fell.

In Response

by: John D'Ambra from: Butler, NJ
November 16, 2012 4:07 PM
And may that GOD punish "your kind" who put Hate/Violence mongering Bigotry before Human Equality...

In Response

by: leslie
November 16, 2012 10:12 AM
if this passes i want to invade them, let us do what we do best.

In Response

by: jack
November 15, 2012 6:28 AM
We reserve the right to assemble and protest en masse in front of their embassies/consulates worldwide.

In Response

by: jomutenga from: uganda
November 15, 2012 1:53 AM
It appears many forget the first commandments of being fruitful and multiplying. So when it was not good for man to be alone, was another man was created!!!!

In Response

by: Mike from: Japan
November 14, 2012 8:10 PM
Absolutely. Because I believe the commandment was "imprison and spread hatred of your neighbors" right?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid