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Ugandan Parliament Reconvenes, With Lingering Kill The Gays Bill

By Sunnivie Brydum

 

After nearly two months off and a broken promise to pass the "Kill the Gays" bill as a "Christmas gift" to Ugandans, the Ugandan Parliament reconvened this week. The odious Anti-Homosexuality Bill once again appeared on the orders papers under "Business to Follow" this week. 

The legislation, which does still include the death penalty for some LGBT people, was listed on Wednesday as the eighth item under business to follow, according to Box Turtle Bulletin's Jim Burroway.

Burroway contends that means the legislation is unlikely to be heard in the immediate future, but does speculate that members of Parliament have the bill "waiting in the wings" to bring up for debate as a distraction or unifying factor in the face of other contentious, unrelated legislation. 

While international condemnation of the so-called Kill The Gays bill has been loud and swift, support for the bill within Uganda and inside Parliament is reportedly high and unwavering. 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex Ugandans have taken to the streets and to new media to make their voices heard and contradict President Yoweri Museveni's statement in a conversation with CNN's Christiane Amanpour last year that "there is no discrimination [and] there is no persecution" of LGBTI people in Uganda. 

But the LGBTI Ugandans featured in an exclusive photo essay for The Advocate tell a very different story. Read about their experiences in first-hand accounts right here

Homosexuality is already illegal in the country and punishable by up to 14 years in prison, but the so-called Kill the Gays bill, sponsored by MP David Bahati and first introduced in 2009, would penalize "aggravated homosexuality"— consensual same-sex acts committed by "repeat offenders," anyone who is in a position of power, is HIV-positive, or uses intoxicating agents in the process — with capital punishment. The lesser "offense of homosexuality," also criminalized in the bill, encompasses anyone who engages in a same-sex sexual relationship, enters into a same-sex marriage, or conspires to commit "aggravated homosexuality."The bill also calls for three-year prison sentences for friends, family members and neighbors who do not turn in "known homosexuals" to the police. 

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