Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Brody's Notes... British Foreign Secretary Says UK Is Pressing Uganda On "Kill The Gays Bill"

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague
Photo via WikiMedia
By Brody Levesque (Washington DC) MAY 10 | British Foreign Secretary William Hague has stated that the UK has continued to press the Ugandan parliament not to pass the so-called "Kill the Gays Bill." The legislation, also known as the so-called Bahati Bill named for its sponsor & author, MP David Bahati, furthers criminalization of homosexuality, including a provision making certain scenarios a capital offence which would see LGBTQ Ugandans executed.
In response to inquiries by journalists, Secretary Hauge tweeted:
“We oppose this bill and will continue to raise our concerns with Ugandan government. We urge Ugandan MPs to reject it.”
In a follow-up tweet the Foreign Secretary wrote: “Our embassy is lobbying Ugandan gov & the UK initiated a formal EU demarche [diplomatic move] to the Ugandan foreign minister on the bill.”
The measure is currently before a parliamentary committee with a second reading of the bill scheduled for Wednesday, which also marks the last scheduled day of parliamentary business, and it has been placed on the parliament's agenda.
Jim Burroway, Editor-In-Chief of the Box Turtle Bulletin reports:
The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, if passed in its current form, would impose the death penalty for those who are HIV-positive, who is a “repeat offender,” or whose partner is deemed “disabled” regardless of whether the relationship was consensual. It would also impose a lifetime sentence for other cases.
The bill would lower the bar for conviction, making mere “touching” for the perceived purpose of homosexual relations a criminal offense. It threatens teachers, doctors, friends, and family members with three years imprisonment if they didn’t report anyone they suspected of being gay to police within twenty-four hours. It also would broadly criminalize all advocacy of homosexuality including, conceivably, lawyers defending accused gay people in court or parliamentarians proposing changes to the law. It even threatens landlords under a “brothel” provision if they knowingly rent to gay people. 
[It should be noted that while there has been much discussion about dropping the death penalty or making other alterations to the bill, none of that has occurred yet. The time when that might occur -- if one would believe that such modifications were to occur -- would be during its second reading. As of today, the death penalty is still in the bill.]
There had been press accounts that sought to suggest that the bill’s original sponsor Bahati and rabidly anti-gay pastor Martin “Eat Da Poo Poo” Ssempsa no longer support the death penalty against gays.
Burroway, whose been a leading voice in the United States LGBTQ blogosphere alerting the public to this legislation, and whose website has closely monitored the Ugandan measure's progress, says that with the current civil unrest in that nation over rising food and fuel prices has created circumstances where MPs are striving to pass the bill as a diversionary tactic. He recently wrote:
“Clearly, passing the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which is very popular among ordinary Ugandans, would be a cynical diversionary ploy on the part of the government."
Global LGBTQ activists are calling for international leaders to urge Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to veto the bill by not signing it into law.