|Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009
Gay Euro MPs denounce Ugandan bill
by Rex Wockner
Bay Windows Contributor
Monday Nov 16, 2009
Members of the European Parliament's Intergroup on LGBT Rights have strongly denounced the
"Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009" pending in Uganda's Parliament.
"The proposed legislation includes provisions to punish those alleged to be lesbian, gay or bisexual
with life imprisonment and, in some cases, the death penalty; any parent or teacher failing to report
their LGBT children or pupils to the authorities with a fine equivalent to $2,650 or three years'
imprisonment; and landowners providing shelter to LGBT people with seven years' imprisonment," the
MEPs said Nov. 9.
Intergroup Co-President Michael Cashman called the bill "deeply worrying."
Co-President Ulrike Lunacek said: "I strongly appeal to Ugandan politicians to be as courageous as
they were when overthrowing the Idi Amin regime, and not to ban Ugandan citizens from being free to
love whomever they wish. Homosexuality is nothing un-African; it has existed at all times and in all
In the U.S., lesbian U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and three other members of Congress have sent
a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urging her to use the full force of her office to condemn
"This egregious bill represents one of the most extreme anti-equality measures ever proposed in any
country and would create a legal pretext for depriving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans
of their liberty, and even their lives," Baldwin wrote, joined by House Committee on Foreign Affairs Chair
Howard Berman, D-Calif., Vice Chair Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and Ranking Minority Member Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. "This bill is wholly unacceptable."
With gay sex already banned under penalty of life in prison, the Anti-Homosexuality Bill aims to erase
any appearance or hint of gayness from the nation. Calling for penalties that range from three years in
prison to execution, the bill criminalizes touching anyone in a gay way; funding or sponsoring gay
organizations; broadcasting, publishing or marketing gay material; homosexual advocacy; "aggravated
homosexuality"; and the failure by any person to report to police his or her awareness of the existence
of a gay person within Uganda's borders within 24 hours of learning that the homosexual exists.
The legislation also targets gay Ugandans who get married abroad. They would be imprisoned for life if
they dared return home.
On Nov. 19, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission,
Health GAP and other organizations will stage a demonstration against the bill outside the Ugandan
Consulate in New York City at 12:30 p.m. Similar protests are planned in Copenhagen, Ottawa, Pretoria
and Washington, D.C.
"The new bill (uses) life imprisonment to punish anything from sexual stimulation to simply 'touch(ing)
another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality,'" the groups said. "It also
punishes 'aggravated homosexuality' -- including activity by 'serial offenders' or those who are
HIV-positive -- with the death penalty. The bill criminalizes 'promotion of homosexuality' in the form of
funding and sponsoring LGBT organizations; and broadcasting, publishing or marketing materials on
homosexuality, and punishes these acts with a steep fine, 5-7 years of imprisonment, or both. Any
person in authority who fails to report known violations of the law within 24 hours will also be subject to
a significant fine and up to 3 years in prison -- even when this means turning in their colleagues, family
or friends. More shocking, the bill claims jurisdiction over Ugandans who violate its provisions while
outside of the country."
For the full text of the draconian measure, see tinyurl.com/hatebill. For information on how to help fight
the bill, see tinyurl.com/iglhrc-ug. For Human Rights Watch's analysis of the bill, see tinyurl.com/hrw-ug.
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