UGANDA—A bill that would impose legally sanctioned punishment upon homosexuals in Uganda, including the death penalty for certain acts, has been revived by the same parliamentarian who first introduced it in 2009. According to the Associated Press, the bill is widely supported in the East African country, which has the unfortunate reputation of being homicidally intolerant toward gays. The only reason the bill did not become law previously is because of “an international outcry against the bill, including condemnation from President Barack Obama.”
But Parliamentarian David Bahati appears to be as determined as anti-gay activists are in the United States to introduce laws that codify the repression of citizens because of their sexual orientation. Though Uganda is flirting with a law that one hopes would never be seriously considered in the States, the rhetoric used by Bahati and other Ugandans is disturbingly similar to that used by politicians here, such as presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Rick Santorum and others.
“Bahati has said that homosexuality poses a serious threat to family values and that his bill has helped raise public awareness about what he calls ‘the dangers to our children,’” reported the AP.
Late last year, Santorum said of gay marriage, “The battle we’re engaged in right now is same-sex marriage, ultimately that is the very foundation of our country, the family, what the family structure is going to look like. I’ll die on that hill.”
In Uganda, homosexuality is already illegal, but the bill being touted by Bahati and others would add a sadistic level of state-sanctioned punishment to the discrimination that gays in the country already face.
“Bahati's original bill carried harsh provisions,” reported the AP. “The original bill would mandate a death sentence for active homosexuals living with HIV or in cases of same-sex rape. ‘Serial offenders’ also could face capital punishment, but the legislation did not define the term. Anyone convicted of a homosexual act would face life imprisonment.”
Adding terror to torture, the bill would also target any citizen who “aids, abets, counsels or procures another to engage of acts of homosexuality.” They would face seven years in prison, as would landlords who rent rooms or homes to gays.
To anyone cognizant of the Holocaust, such a law would be nothing less than the return of the horror that was meted out worldwide to millions of people a mere 65 years ago, as well as other similar holocausts that have happened, or continue to unfold, in countries such as Rwanda and the Sudan.
The AP article also disturbingly notes the complicity of Pentacostal ministers in Uganda, many of whom have championed the bill and “warn that young Ugandans are at risk of being indoctrinated into gay lifestyles by gays visiting from the U.S. and Europe. Even pastors who oppose the draft law do so not because it is draconian or unnecessary, but rather because they believe the police would not be able to enforce it.”
In his recent attempt to get the bill passed, Bahati said he is willing to drop the death penalty provisions if such a revision is recommended by a parliamentary committee, though it remains to be seen whether Sweden and Britain, which have threatened to cut off aid to Uganda if the bill is passed, will soften their opposition if that modification is made. One can only hope not.