Contrary to some published reports, Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill is moving forward and may do so swiftly, possibly coming to a vote within the next week, blogger David Badash reports.
There were hearings before a parliamentary committee Friday on the bill, which would mandate the death penalty for homosexuality in certain circumstances, Badash reports on the blog The New Civil Rights Movement. The Associated Press had reported last week that the death penalty provision may be removed, but it remains in the bill so far, according to Badash. Sponsor David Bahati “claimed last week he would ‘concede’ the provision if it would move the bill into law,” the blogger writes. “Many believe that concession to be a ruse.”
With or without the capital punishment provision, the bill would strengthen Uganda’s existing laws against homosexuality. Bahati has said he believes it can pass with or without including the death penalty. The legislation may come to a vote by the full parliament as early as Wednesday; lawmakers expect to wrap up most of their business for this session by the end of next week, Badash reports.
Badash also notes that in early April, when it appeared the bill would die without being voted on, antigay activists led by right-wing minister Martin Ssempa presented speaker of parliament Edward Ssekandi with petitions bearing 2 million signatures in support of it. “We as religious leaders and civil society are distressed that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is being deliberately killed largely by the undemocratic threats of Western nations,” Ssempa said at the time. However, Ugandan backers of the bill have also received some help from the West; some of them have ties to conservative Christian activists in the United States.
Read more here.