uganda's anti-gay bill is expected to pass before the end of 2012, despite international criticism of the draft legislation, the speaker of the country's parliament said monday. speaker rebecca kadaga insists the bill is what most ugandans want. kadaga also told the associated press the bill - which originally mandated death for some gay acts - will become law this year.
kadaga said, "ugandans are demanding it," reiterating a promise she made before a meeting of anti-gay activists who spoke of "the serious threat" posed by homosexuals to uganda's children. some christian clerics at the meeting in kampala, the country's capital, asked the speaker to pass the law as "a christmas gift."
in a petition the activists said, "speaker, we cannot sit back while such a destructive phenomenon is taking place in our nation. we therefore, as responsible citizens, feel duty-bound to bring the matter to your attention as the leader of parliament...so that lawmakers can do something to quickly address the deteriorating situation in our nation."
the anti-gay activists paraded in front of kadaga, with parents & schoolchildren holding up signs saying homosexuality is "an abomination." the speaker then promised to consider the bill within two weeks, declaring that "the power is in our hands." kadaga said of activists who want the bill to become law, "who are we not to do what they have told us? these people should not be begging us."
uganda's penal code criminalizes homosexuality, but in 2009 a lawmaker with the ruling party said a stronger law was needed to protect uganda's children from homosexuals. parliamentarian david bahati charged at the time that wealthy homosexuals from the west were "recruiting" poor children into gay lifestyles with promises of money & a better life. bahati believes his bill is sufficiently popular among lawmakers to pass without difficulty.
gay rights activists in uganda, while opposing the bill, point out that it has helped their fight for equality by putting what used to be a taboo subject on the national agenda. homosexuality is illegal in many african countries. pepe julian onziema, a prominent ugandan gay activist, said the new push to pass the law was frustrating.
"it's disappointing, but we are also going to seek a meeting with the speaker," onziema said. but he also said it's unlikely the speaker will agree to such a gathering. while the bill appears to be popular in uganda, it has attracted widespread criticism abroad. newly re-elected u.s. president barack obama has described the bill as "odious," while some european countries have threatened to cut aid to uganda if the bill becomes law.
- mark j. tuggle
- harlem, usa
- same-gender-loving contemporary descendant of enslaved africans. community activist, feminist, health educator, independent filmmaker, mentor, playwright, poet & spiritual being. featured at, in & on africana.com, afrikan poetry theatre, angel herald, bejata dot com, bet tonight with tavis smiley, blacklight online, black noir, brooklyn moon cafe, gmhc's barbershop, klmo-fm, lgbt community services center, longmoor productions, nuyorican poets cafe, our corner, poz, pulse, rolling out new york, rush arts gallery, saint veronica's church, schomburg center for research in black culture, sexplorations, the citizen, the new york times, the soundz bar, the trenton times, the village voice, upn news, uzuri, venus, vibe, wbai-fm, wnyc-fm & wqht-fm. volunteered with adodi, bailey house, inc., black men's xchange-new york, colorofchange.org, drug policy alliance, east harlem tutorial program, imagenation film & music festival, presente.org, save darfur coalition, the enough project, the osborne association, the sledge group & your black world. worked on films with maurice jamal & heather murphy. writing student of phil bertelsen & ed bullins. firstname.lastname@example.org.