News / Africa

Uganda's Parliament Passes Anti-Homosexuality Bill

VOA News
Uganda's parliament has passed a bill that would make some homosexual acts punishable by life in prison.

The bill was previously condemned by rights groups and Western governments, including the United States, in part because it included the death penalty.

The version passed Friday does not include the death penalty, but calls for a life sentence for anyone convicted of what the bill calls "aggravated homosexuality."

An official with Human Rights Watch, senior Africa researcher Maria Burnett, said the new bill is still appalling, despite some amendments. Amnesty International also criticized the measure, calling it "wildly discriminatory."

The legislation needs the signature of President Yoweri Museveni to become law.

One of the bill's sponsors, member of parliament David Bahati, said lawmakers showed courage in passing the legislation.

"I want to thank the speaker of parliament for the courage and defending the children of Uganda and the cause for humanity, to protect our marriages, to defend culture and to defend the future of our children.  We have done our part, it is an important piece of legislation.  We want to thank all those who have been supportive of us, we thank the religious leaders, we thank the parents and we thank all Ugandans who have been praying for us,'' said Bahati.

Homosexuality is a taboo subject across many parts of Africa. Nearly 40 African nations criminalize homosexual activity, and activists say few Africans are able to be openly gay.

The Ugandan parliament Thursday passed another controversial piece of legislation, an anti-pornography bill, which among other measures, bans the wearing of mini-skirts.

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by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
December 21, 2013 6:12 PM
Well, we are almost in 2014, the conscious World should not allow the uneducated African dictatorship legislators and religious fanatics and terrorists to regulate actions by consenting adults behind their closed doors. Barbarism is religion born morality not homosexuality! Got it?


by: Swag
December 21, 2013 12:55 PM
I don't consider myself a gay advocate and I also don't consider myself a homo-phob. I think everyone should have the right to love whoever they want without anyone judging them or in this case, without having to go to jail for the rest of their lives. People should have the right to be themselves and be with whom ever they want. At the end of the day it's just ordinary people in love and that's a beautiful thing.


by: Jon from: California
December 20, 2013 1:13 PM
Damn its nice to see crimes against nature are still punished somewhere. Ol America just allows any freak and geek to do just about anything they please as long as it doesnt affect the rich or the politically connected.

In Response

by: Ebony from: chicago
December 20, 2013 4:04 PM
Why shouldn't people be allowed to do what they want with themselves, who are u to say that being Gay isnt as natural as being straight? U sound a bit judgemental. Being gay is.just like being black, ur born that way.


by: Anonymous
December 20, 2013 1:04 PM
No homos or mini skirts yay let's go live there


by: Dan from: North Carolina
December 20, 2013 1:03 PM
Until this discriminatory law is struck down in Uganda, all the country's officials responsible for voting or signing this bill into law ought to be tried in international court for crimes against humanity so they can't leave their country without potentially facing arrest themselves


by: InfamousValdon from: Canada
December 20, 2013 12:59 PM
Just because the US has legally allowed homosexuality in their country doesn't mean any other country has to follow suit. The US government won't be happy until all national sovereignty worldwide is a thing of the past. This coming from the country who claim to fight for freedom and democracy. The US government is a living contradiction. What a joke. I wonder if the US government are working with the same human right groups that want to convict Bush and Obama for crimes against humanity and international war crimes.

In Response

by: InfamousValdon from: Canada
December 21, 2013 2:33 PM
@Dan from North Carolina
Dan it's very similar here in Canada as in the US as far as politics are concerned. The Canadian government as the US government, are always passing laws that the average Canadian doesn't agree with. I personally don't care if someone is gay or not. I just don't believe that the government should have a say on sexual preference, some things should be private, gay or straight. It seems to me there is a double standard as far as sexuality is concerned. Here in Canada every year in Toronto there is a gay pride parade which to me is an outrage. Look at it this way: What would the homosexual community say if there were an annual straight pride parade? They would loose their minds, saying they're being discriminated against. Just an example of another double standard within our society.

In Response

by: Dan from: North Carolina
December 20, 2013 4:43 PM
Funny you're from Canada (where protections and rights for gays are much stronger) and hold this viewpoint. While I don't advocate the US or any country policing the world, I think we along with the international community in hand have a duty to confront human rights abuses like this.


by: alur from: Las Vegas, United States
December 20, 2013 12:25 PM
Some countries in the world are destined to hold on to Medieval ideas instead of embracing the 21st century. No one loses their rights when other groups are given theirs. Shame on the government of Uganda. No more U.S. aid for you.


by: Bruce from: Calgary
December 20, 2013 12:19 PM
It's about time ....... finally some forewards, educated, sophisticated enlightened, moral thinkers who think with their brains instead of their stuff


by: Sean from: Texas
December 20, 2013 12:19 PM
Nemo, if you're saying that corrupt politicians condemned these crimes against humanity, and that the American public would actually support something like this, then I say bring on the corruption. Love is love, and on top of that it really isn't anyone else's business.


by: Nemo from: Hamilton
December 20, 2013 12:08 PM
Lets be clear. Corrupt US politicians condemned this, not the American public.

In Response

by: Deekoo from: USA
December 21, 2013 2:54 AM
Speaking as a member of the American public, I for one condemn this insane law - and I am not usually noted for seeing eye to eye with my politicians.

Bahati's original bill was Naziesque in nature; the street violence Ssempa has ordered and the thuggish behaviour of the so-called 'Minister for ethics and integrity' all point at a political trend that, if left unchecked, will attempt to take Idi Amin Dada's place in history's nightmares.

In Response

by: Dan from: North Carolina
December 20, 2013 4:54 PM
William Cherry, I pity you that you stereotypically form your impressions of people based on a pieced together many times over book translated many times over (ever heard of lost in translation?), that contains many antiquated and morally wrong teachings. Slavery anyone? --Try following the actual teachings of Jesus who on all accounts loved everyone without reservation and never said a word about homosexuality being morally wrong.

In Response

by: Inverse137 from: US
December 20, 2013 12:31 PM
Well, I am not a "corrupt U.S. Polician" and I am part of the American public and I condemn it.

It is barbaric. Just like you.

In Response

by: James from: USA
December 20, 2013 12:28 PM
What and you are for this? I would bet 80% of the USA pubic are against this

In Response

by: william cherry from: panama city fl
December 20, 2013 12:24 PM
Nemo hit it right on the head. Majority of American people do not see this as a "rights" issue. But believe sodomy is immoral and a deviate, chosen life style. The Bible does not preach tolerance of sin. The Bible is a "Declaration of Truth" not a debate.

In Response

by: Anonymous
December 20, 2013 12:22 PM
Thank you for standing up for the American people. They would clearly take the moral high ground and send homosexuals to prison for doing nothing.

In Response

by: julius from: hawaii
December 20, 2013 12:21 PM
So u support killing gays and think the American public does too?

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