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Uganda Passes Deadly Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

Uganda Passes Deadly Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill

<p>Uganda Passes Deadly Anti-LGBTQ+ Bill</p>

The bill calls for lifetime prison sentences and the death penalty for same-sex sexual relations.

Uganda’s parliament passed an extreme anti-LGBTQ+ bill on Tuesday that includes a lifetime prison sentence for engaging in same-sex sexual relations and the death penalty in other cases.

The bill, officially known as “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2023,” now awaits the signature of Uganda President Yoweri Museveni to become law. Museveni, who is not a supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, returned a similar bill to the parliament in April, asking for revisions to soften the legislation’s harsh penalties and treatment of LGBTQ+ people.

“Let’s protect Ugandans, let’s protect our values, our virtues,” parliament speaker Anita Among said in parliament after the bill’s passage. “We have a culture to protect. The Western world will not come and rule Uganda.”

Despite Museveni’s earlier request to include provisions for the so-called rehabilitation of LGBTQ+ people, the legislation passed on Tuesday remains relatively unchanged from the earlier bill that caused an outcry from governments and advocacy groups around the world.

People found to be “engaging in acts of homosexuality” would be sentenced to life in prison. Mere suspicion of being LGBTQ+ is not criminalized in the current bill. The bill still calls the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality” which refers to people living with HIV engaging in same-sex sexual relations and repeat offenders.

MSNBC news host Rachel Maddow noted the religious connection between the situation in Uganda and the efforts by state legislatures to pass anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the U.S.

“The bill is one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQI+ laws in the world. Human rights are universal,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press conference in March of the earlier legislation returned to parliament by Museveni. “No one should be attacked, imprisoned, or killed simply because of who they are or whom they love.”

According to Ugandan law, Museveni, a vocal LGBTQ+ opponent, now has 30 days to sign the bill into law, veto it outright, or return the bill to parliament for further revision.

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