Uganda: Religious leaders seek return of anti-gay bill

June 10, 2012 Source : http://www.theafricareport.com

The inter-religious council, an organisation of Uganda’s religious leaders, has called on members of parliament to pass an anti homosexuality bill that is presently before the legislature.

The controversial bill was introduced to parliament as a private members bill by David Bahati in 2009. It has since been criticised by international human rights non-governmental organisations particularly for clauses suggesting a death penalty for those found guilty of homosexuality.

“We religious leaders don’t support homosexuality and it should be condemned by legislators despite donors threatening to cut funding.” Zan Niringiye, Deputy Bishop of Kampala, told a breakfast meeting of religious leaders and parliamentarians.

Homosexuality is regarded a taboo in most of Ugandan communities, and urbanites who have embraced are considered as misfits by many. The deeply divisive anti-homosexual bill has however been [LINK=/index.php/2012022751709572/east-horn-africa/uganda-minister-s-directive-on-gays-raises-storm-51709572.html]described by some as being draconian in its present form and should not be passed[/LINK] draconian in its present form and should not be passed.

In a separate interview, a leader of Arising for Christ, an organisation of Pentecostal pastors, Pastor Solomon Male says that there is no need to pass the bill because there already are existing laws against homosexuality, which are not being implemented.

“The penal code of 2007 has harsh punishment for homosexuals. [LINK=/index.php/2011110250174130/east-horn-africa/uganda-mp-says-anti-gay-bill-must-be-debated-50174130.html]There is no need for new laws.[/LINK] If the bill is passed, the gays will challenge it in constitutional court and win,” Male said.

Despite criticism of the bill, some lobby groups insist that it should be passed, as homosexuality was an alien culture in the country. As a result a number of [LINK=/index.php/20120517501811762/east-horn-africa/ugandan-gay-activists-seek-repeal-of-anti-homosexual-penal-code-501811762.html]gay rights activists and homosexuals[/LINK] have been forced to go underground, as they fear for their lives.

“We live in fear. We fear our fellow Ugandans and security organisations who regard us as dangerous
 to society,” Timothy Wande, a gay rights activist, said.

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