WATCH: Step Into an Illegal Gay Wedding in Uganda
Before Uganda's Constitutional Court overturned the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act on a parliamentary technicality earlier this month, a brave same-sex couple managed to host an intimate, secret wedding service — and digital publication Vocativ was there with video cameras.
Holding or attending the covert ceremony was highly dangerous, as participants worried a guest may have tipped off local police about the planned wedding — which, under the now-defunct Anti-Homosexuality Act, would have prescribed at least year-long prison sentences for anyone involved or attending the celebration. Other stipulations of the law imposed lifelong prison sentences on anyone convicted of "aggravated homosexuality," which included repeated same-sex sexual contact between consenting adults, or any same-sex encounter where one person was a minor, mentally disabled, HIV-positive, or under the influence of drugs and alcohol. The law also required friends, family, neighbors, and landlords of LGBT people to report them to police or face a seven-year stint in jail themselves.
And although an invitation-only Ugandan LGBT Pride celebration went off without protests or violence less than three weeks after the Anti-Homosexuality Act was overturned, homosexuality remains criminalized in the east African nation, and the hundreds of LGBT people fleeing antigay attitudes in Uganda have found conditions to be no safer in refugee camps in neighboring Kenya. As such, Uganda remains an unfriendly place to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or intersex.
Meanwhile, local politicians and press outlets have been sending mixed signals about if and when a revised version of the law might be implemented. Since the Constitutional Court overturned the law based on a lack of quorum when Parliament passed it, the court did not address the constitutional issues raised by the legislation, leaving the possibility open that a new iteration of the bill once labeled "Kill the Gays" could be introduced.
For the moment, though, Uganda's embattled LGBT population is enjoying a moment of relative respite — making it a perfect time to share Vocativ's video, which captures the indomitable spirit of these proud Ugandans. Watch it below.