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!!!!!!!! Search error!  If the URL ends something like .htm/  or .htm# delete the character(s) after .htm and hit return.

Proposed genocidal law targeting GLB persons in Uganda

Status of proposed legislation: 2011-NOV to now


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"GLB" is an acronym referring to gays, lesbians, and bisexuals. More commonly, the letter "T" is added to
refer to transgender persons and transsexuals. Sometimes "I" is added to refer to intersexual persons.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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2011-NOV-28: Legislators reconsidering anti-gay law; other news:

Christopher Ssenyonjo, is a former Anglican bishop of West Buganda diocese. His consecration as bishop was cancelled by the Ugandan church during 2002 because of his support for LGBTs. He said during an interview with ENInews that fear among LGBTs in Uganda is increasing daily. Many are changing their residences to seek safety. He said:

"People have to be more tolerant. We have to make them understand that homosexuals are not different from them as human beings. [LGBT] people are suffering and we believe the problem is in failing to understand them. ... People are instigating to have the bill debated. This is creating much anxiety among gays and lesbians who keep guessing what will happen next."

A man has been convicted of the beating to death of David Kato during 2011-JAN. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Frank Mugisha, 29, a leader of Sexual Minorities Uganda, was awarded the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award. He said that the award gave him more courage in his work. His group works underground; its members shift location frequently to avoid attacks. 1

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2012-MAR-22: Liberty Counsel announces it will defend an evangelical pastor Scott Lively in Ugandan case:

Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) launched a lawsuit in a Massachusetts court, claiming that evangelical pastor Rev. Scott Lively started preaching in Ugandan churches during 2002 against lesbians, gays and pornography. LIberty Counsel has agreed to defend Lively. The lawsuit further claims that as a result of LIvely's efforts, the LGBT community in Uganda have faced discrimination.

According to a press release of Liberty Counsel:

"Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: 'This lawsuit against Rev. Scott Lively is a gross attempt to use a vague international law to silence, and eventually criminalize, speech by U.S. citizens on homosexuality and moral issues. This suit should cause everyone to be concerned, because it a direct threat against freedom of speech'." 2

The lawsuit is based on the Alien Tort Statute (ATS) which covers violations of international laws that are "specific, universal, and obligatory." According to Liberty Counsel:

"Courts have found torture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment; genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity; summary execution, prolonged arbitrary detention, and forced disappearance to be actionable under the ATS." 2

Extending the range of this statute to include religious speech, no matter how hateful, seems to be a major stretch.

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2012-JUN: "Kill the gays bill" reintroduced to Parliament, strongly supported by Christian ecumenical council:

The original Anti-Homosexuality Bill was reintroduced in February by its sponsor, Member of Parliament David Bahati. Although some news reports said that the death penalty had been removed from the bill, it remains in place.

The Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) is an ecumenical group that includes Anglican, Catholic and Orthodox churches in the country. According to their website, their mandate is "... to build a society that harmoniously co-exists and promotes, protects, respects and upholds human dignity."

At their annual meeting they:

  • Asked that the Parliamentary Committee on Gender to speed up passage of the bill which is currently at the committee level.
  • Asked the Education Committee to add a discussion of human sexuality to all school curricula.
  • Appealed to all churches "to remain steadfast in opposing the phenomena of homosexuality, lesbianism and same-sex union."

This decision by the UJCC may signal a reversal in position by the local Catholic bishops. Roman Catholic Bishop of Uganda Cyprian Lwanga previously attacked the bill’s death penalty and imprisonment clauses as contrary to "... a Christian caring approach to this issue." However, he also said: "We, the Catholic Bishops of Uganda, appreciate and applaud the Government’s effort to protect the traditional family and its values."

According to ReligionDispatches.org, the bill:

"... is backed by First Lady Janet Museveni and legislators with close ties to the American religious right. The bill, which emerged after a 2009 conference in which American evangelicals railed against the threats posed by homosexuality, includes draconian penalties, including death and life imprisonment, and has generated intense scrutiny. International pressure, including opposition from the U.S. State Department, has helped prevent the legislation from actually being voted on in Parliament. 3,4

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Fredrick Nzwili, "As Uganda re-considers anti-gay law, former bishop calls for tolerance," Ecumenical News International, 2011-NOV-28, at: http://www.pcusa.org/
  2. "Suit Based on International Law Filed Against Christian Pastor for Speech on LGBT," Liberty Counsel press release, 2012-MAR-22, at: http://www.lc.org/i
  3. Joohn Tugume, "Bishops want shelved anti-gay bill dusted," Daily Monitor (Uganda), 2012-JUN-10, at: http://www.monitor.co.ug/
  4. Peter Montgomery, "Ugandan bishops push notorious anti-gay bill," Religion Dispatches, 2012-JUN-12, at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/

Copyright © 2011 by the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2011-MAY-10
Latest update and review: 2012-JUN-14
Compiler: B.A. Robinson

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