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Ugandan LGBTs Paid to Back Antigay Bill

Ugandan LGBTs Paid to Back Antigay Bill

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As the Ugandan parliament appears to have abandoned the notorious "kill the gays" bill this session, desperate antigay pastor Martin Ssempa may have paid LGBT witnesses to testify as "ex-gays" in support of the measure.

The New York Times
reports on the visit Ssempa made to parliament last week in order to urge lawmakers to debate the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which has become "politically toxic" in the wake of the murder of prominent gay rights activist David Kato. The activist had recently won a case against the Rolling Stone tabloid newspaper, which ran his photo with a headline calling for him and other activists to be hanged.

"But with Parliament closing next month, Mr. Ssempa, a leading religious figure from an independent sect of Christianity, made a last-ditch push last week, bringing a coalition of religious leaders, civil society organizers and two self-described former homosexuals to meet directly with the speaker of Parliament, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi. They presented him with a petition containing what they said were more than two million signatures in support of the bill," reported the Times.

While blaming the death of the bill on "homocracy," or political bullying, from Western nations, some of which give aid to Uganda, Ssempa also invited two witnesses, Paul Kagaba and George Oundo, to testify. They said they had been rescued by Ssempa after being "recruited" into the LGBT community by activists including Kato.

However, the Times reports that afterward, Oundo, who is transgender, retracted much of his testimony. He said he believes Kato was murdered and that he does not support the bill.

"Mr. Oundo said that his presence alongside Mr. Ssempa at Parliament had been to 'protect' himself and that he had been contacted only that morning by Mr. Kagaba about the meeting and offered about $42 to attend," reported the Times. "He said Mr. Ssempa had offered him about $2,000 in 2009 to repent and switch sides in the debate, but later reneged. Either way, Mr. Oundo became a poster-child for Mr. Ssempa's anti-homosexuality movement."

Ssempa declined comment on the charges. "Ex-gay" survivor group Truth Wins Out has called on the Ugandan government to investigate the pastor for perjury, extortion, and fraud.

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